JavaScript must be enabled to use this site.

Why cigars can be just as dangerous as cigarettes

Posted on November 1, 2019 in General oral health


man smoking cigar outsideSome people view cigar smoking as a glamorous luxury and purchase premium products for cigar evenings. After years of decline, annual cigar consumption nearly doubled from 6.2 billion cigars in 2000 to 12 billion in 2016.1

Once largely the domain of older men, cigar smoking is now also popular with teens, as 7.7% of high school students report smoking cigars, including 6.3% of female students.2 In fact, a higher percentage of high school students than adults say they smoke cigars, with flavored cigars likely driving youth appeal.3

Unfortunately, this habit can not only lead to oral health problems, but it’s also addictive and can be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. Teens are especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction. 

1. Cigars can damage your smile.

  • More than 75% of people diagnosed with oral cancer after age 50 use or have used tobacco.4 Regular cigar smokers also increase their risk for other serious oral health problems.
  • Cigar smokers are 4 to 10 times more likely to die from cancers of the mouth, esophagus and larynx than non-smokers.5
  • They often have badly stained teeth and chronic bad breath.
  • Smoking cigars triples their rate of developing moderate to severe gum disease.6
  • On average, cigar smokers have four missing teeth.7

2. Cigars contain more tobacco than cigarettes.

While cigarette tobacco is wrapped in paper, cigar tobacco is wrapped in more tobacco, often a tobacco leaf. A large cigar can contain as much tobacco as a pack of cigarettes.8 Because nicotine in cigar smoke is absorbed through tissues lining the mouth, cigars can be addictive – even when the smoke is not inhaled.

In addition to cancer and gum disease, cigar smoking may increase the risk of heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.9

Containing the same toxic and carcinogenic compounds as cigarettes, cigars can be very dangerous to your oral and overall health. When you quit smoking, your mouth and body will start to heal and you can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and more.10 Talk to your doctor if you need help stopping.

1 https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article/20/12/1457/4159211

2 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/cigars/index.htm 

3 https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/industries/Tobacco/Cigars.html#ixzz5s4kKhmqj

4 https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/

5 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/oral-cancer-and-tobacco

6 https://www.rdhmag.com/career-profession/personal-wellness/article/16409598/cigar-smoking

7 https://www.rdhmag.com/career-profession/personal-wellness/article/16409598/cigar-smoking

8 https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/effects-of-smoking-pipes-and-cigars#1

9 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/cigars/index.htm

10 https://www.einstein.yu.edu/uploadedFiles/bronxbreathes/Cigars.pdf