Cigars and pipes differ in design from cigarettes, which are made from tobacco wrapped in thin paper. Cigars are wrapped in tobacco leaves, and unlike cigarettes, they don’t have filters. In pipes, the tobacco sits in a bowl at the end, and a stem connects this bowl to the mouthpieces. Pipes can be equipped with filters.
Another type of pipe. The water pipe, is made up of a body filled with water, a bowl in which the tobacco is placed, and an attached tube mouthpiece through which the pipe can be smoked. Water pipes, or hookahs, originated in ancient Persia and India about four centuries ago and are still popular today. Hookahs are filled with vagrant tobaccos in a wide range of flavors, such as apple, cherry, and mint.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking is Just as Risky as Cigarette Smoking
Cigar and pipe smokers often argue that their health isn’t at risk because they only smoke once or twice a day and don’t inhale. They also claim that cigars and pipes are not addictive. However, research has shown that cigar and pipe smoking is every bit as dangerous as cigarette smoking, and maybe even more dangerous.
A single large cigar can contain more than ½ ounce of tobacco – as much tobacco as an entire packet of cigarettes. One cigar also contains 100-200 milligrams of nicotine, while a cigarette averages just eight. This might be why smoking just a couple of cigars a week is enough to trigger nicotine cravings.
Health Effects of Smoking Cigars and Pipes
Below are just a few of the harmful effects of smoking cigars and pipes:
Even if you don’t inhale, you can still get a number of different cancers from smoking cigars and pipes. For example, people who smoke cigars regularly are four to ten times more likely than non-smokers to die from cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and larynx. Oral cancer can develop anywhere the smoke touches, including the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. Those who inhale, also increase their risk of lung, pancreas, and bladder cancer.
Cigar and pipe smoking double the risk of airway damage that can lead to chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking can also make existing asthma symptoms a lot worse.
Smoking cigars or pipes can wreak havoc on your mouth, contributing to stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss. One study showed that pipe and cigar smokers have an average of four missing teeth.
Those who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction as those who don’t.
Cigars and Pipes Are Dangerous to Those in the Vicinity
Cigars and pipes aren’t just dangerous to those who smoke them. They also give off second-hand smoke filled with toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Furthermore, since a cigar wrapper is less porous than a cigarette wrapper, it doesn’t burn as thoroughly as a cigarette wrapper. This increases the concentration of cancer-causing substances such as tar, carbon monoxide, and ammonia in the air.
Despite their sweet aroma, water pipes are also dangerous to your health. During a typical hookah session, you’ll inhale 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke that you’d get from a cigarette. Water pipes deliver at least as much nicotine and toxins as cigarettes and put users at similar risk for cancer and other smoking-related diseases.
The same advice is true for cigar and pipe smokers as it is for cigarette smokers: quit. If you cannot kick the habit on your own, get help from a doctor, another health professional, or a smoking cessation. Also, get regular check-ups – including mouth exams to look for signs of oral cancer – and talk to your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer.