Are cigars healthier than cigarettes?

While tobacco may not be good for you, cigarettes are designed to be addictive. Cigars are more of an artisan tobacco product that have been enjoyed for generations.

Cigars have been seen as iconic thanks to their use by many influential figures over the years, like Sir Winston Churchill, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jack Nicholson. It’s fair to say that they have earned a reputation for having connotations of abundance, the aristocracy, and affluence.

The question is, are cigars as bad for you as cigarettes? Science holds the answer.

What the research tells us

Researchers from the Kaiser Care medical care programme provided an answer for us in 1999 by publishing a paper on cigar smoking in the New England journal of medicine. This followed 16,228 never smokers and 1546 cigar smokers who were all men for 25 years and compared rates of a myriad of diseases among them. Cigar smokers were then further divided into those who are smoking less than 5 cigars a day or more (heavy).

Heavy Cigar Smoking

Compared with people who have never smoked, heavy cigar smokers were shown to have increased risk for several smoking related diseases. This includes heart disease, emphysema, oral and pharynx cancer as well as lung cancer.

Moderate Cigar Smoking

Moderate cigar smokers however only had a slightly higher risk for heart disease. Those who are smoking more than 5 cigars per day had no significantly increased risks for diseases like strokes, emphysema, oral/pharynx cancer or lung cancer. This means that one smoking only a couple of cigars per day, or better yet just once in a while has no significant health risk increases what-so-ever.

This could suggest that Havana Cigars, as the data show, have very few health effects when used in moderation. One of the main reasons that cigar smokers have a lower level of risk when compared with cigarette smokers is that the smoke is not inhaled. Cigar smokers are also not as habitual as cigarette smokers. Those who smoke even fewer cigars have a much lower risk.

There is a 20% increased risk in heart disease for moderate smokers however, and this needs to be taken into consideration as it is consequential. This increased risk is, however, the same increase that you might find in someone who eats meat ( compared with the health risk of someone who is a vegetarian).

This is not to say that someone who is a non-smoker should pick it up, but could perhaps present a health reason for a cigarette smoker to switch to cigars. Regardless, the purpose of this article is to help people find the information that they need and to make informed decisions based on the research. We hope you enjoyed this article and use it to form a more fully-informed decision as to how you live your lifestyle.