What’s worse: Cigars versus Cigarettes
Everyone is aware of the health risks involved with smoking cigars and cigarettes, as well as, the dangers of secondhand smoke. Which is worse though, cigars or cigarettes? Since cigar smokers don’t inhale, do they have the upper hand over cigarettes? It turns out the answer is not as simple as once thought.
How Much and How Often
The National Cancer Institute gathered research on both cigarettes and cigars and discovered the health risks are linked to frequency of use. That means it doesn’t matter whether you prefer smoking cigarettes or cigars, it’s how often and how much you smoke in general. People who are daily cigarette smokers have a greater chance of developing cancer than the occasional cigar smoker. However, research shows cigars have more carcinogens than cigarettes. Cigars also emit a much more toxic smoke, posing a greater danger for those who may inhale the secondhand smoke. This is mostly due to the cigar being larger than a cigarette and therefore would emit more smoke.
Don’t Breathe Deeply
The largest debate seems to stem from the matter of inhaling nicotine from either cigars or cigarettes. Most cigar aficionados claim cigars are less dangers simply because they don’t inhale as deeply as cigarette smokers, keeping most toxins out. The National Cancer Institute’s research showed both cigar and cigarette smokers were equally exposed to dangerous carcinogens and it didn’t matter if they inhaled or not. Inhaling damages the lungs; you can still expose carcinogens to the mouth, tongue, larynx, and throats without inhaling. By simply holding an unlit cigar or cigarette in your mouth, exposes them to carcinogens. Saliva comes in contact with the cigar or cigarette when they are smoked, which means carcinogens are being swallowed. Swallowing carcinogens further exposes the throat, larynx, and esophagus to toxins. There appears to be no difference between the amounts of carcinogens swallowed by either cigar or cigarette smokers. Meaning, they both hold the same risk of getting oral and esophageal cancer.
Health risks seem are related to how deep someone inhales the smoke in either cigars or cigarettes. Most cigarette smokers inhale more deeply and more often, putting them at a higher danger of developing larynx cancer. To give a more clear idea of how inhaling relates to health risk, the National Cancer Institute states the lung cancer risk to be the same for a person who smokes a pack a day and a person who smokes five cigars a day.