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Is smoking a pipe or cigars better for me than smoking cigarettes?

Smoking a pipe or cigars is not better for you than smoking cigarettes. Research shows that pipe smoking is every bit as dangerous as cigarette smoking, and possibly even more dangerous.

Cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar than cigarettes. Many people view cigar smoking as less dangerous than cigarette smoking. Yet one large cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.

Cigar smoke has:
  • A higher level of cancer-causing substances: During the fermentation nitrosamines are produced. These compounds are released when a cigar is smoked. Nitrosamines are found at higher levels in cigar smoke than in cigarette smoke.
  • More tar: For every gram of tobacco smoked, there is more cancer-causing tar in cigars than in cigarettes.
  • A higher level of toxins: Cigar wrappers are less porous than cigarette wrappers. The nonporous cigar wrapper makes the burning of cigar tobacco less complete than the burning of cigarette tobacco. As a result, cigar smoke has higher concentrations of toxins than cigarette smoke.
Pipes or cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. Even if you do not inhale cigar smoke, you are still at risk for oral and pharyngeal (throat) cancers. Like cigarette smokers, cigar smokers are at increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease, a leading cause of tooth loss. In addition to the health risks, cigar smoke, like cigarette smoke can cause staining of the teeth and tongue as well as bad breath.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.