Smoking is bad for you--it's a known fact. However, when it comes to cigar smoking, the dangers aren't as clear or as well-known and users aren't as vilified as cigarette smokers. Many people assume cigar smoking is safer than cigarette smoking and that the risk of cancer is lower. This article clears up some of the misconceptions and delineates the dangers of cigar smoking.
Unlike cigarettes, cigars come in many different shapes and sizes, some measuring up to 7 inches long. Larger cigars have between 5 and 17 grams of tobacco, and one cigar can carry the same amount of tobacco as a pack of cigarettes. The three most detrimental ingredients in tobacco are nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, all extremely harmful to the body.
When you smoke a cigar, you absorb nicotine through your mouth lining. It then diffuses into the saliva in amounts adequate enough to breed an addiction. Inhalation is not required for this to happen. Though it generally takes 1 to 2 hours to smoke a cigar, it contains much more nicotine than a cigarette, making addiction highly possible.
Cigar smoking can cause different types of cancer, mainly those related to the oral cavity (mouth, lip, tongue, throat and larynx). Tooth loss, cancer of the larynx and lung cancer are three of the most common ailments caused by cigar smoking. Cigar smokers who do not inhale are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as nonsmokers.
When cigar smoke is released into the air, it is known as second-hand, passive or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). The ETS from cigar smoke contains toxins and irritants (carbon monoxide and nicotine), plus carcinogens (benzene, arsenic and hydrocarbons). Because a cigar has more tobacco than a cigarette, it releases more ETS.
Cigar smoking can cause erectile dysfunction in men. Due to the adverse effect cigar smoking has on the hormones, nervous system and circulation, smokers are twice as likely to experience impotency as nonsmokers. Studies also show that exposure to second-hand smoke can result in erectile dysfunction as well.
It's never easy quitting an addictive substance. However, quitting cigars reduces your health and environmental risks and improves your overall quality of life--your pulse rate, blood pressure and breathing become more balanced. These improvements are sometimes seen immediately after quitting.