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Are Cigars Healthier Than Cigarettes?

I was out with some friends who were celebrating their engagement, and one of the guys pulled out some cigars. He offered one to me and I gave him this look like "Are you serious?" and he said, "Cigars aren't bad for you because you don't even inhale."

When you smoke a cigar, you're only supposed to suck the smoke into your mouth then blow the smoke out. So does that means it's any better for you than cigarettes?

It's still a tobacco product like cigarettes, right, so I think you know what the answer is. Large cigars typically contain between 5 and 17 grams of tobacco. Some premium brands have as much tobacco in 1 cigar as in a whole pack of cigarettes!

Plus, the tobacco in cigars is different than what's found in cigarettes. It's fermented tobacco, so it has a high concentration of nitrogen compounds. When smoked, these compounds give off several tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), some of the most potent human carcinogens known. Also, because the cigar wrapper is less porous than cigarette paper, the tobacco doesn't burn as completely. The result is a higher concentration of nitrogen oxides, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and tar -- all very harmful substances.

What about secondhand smoke? To hear all about it

Large cigars can take about 1 to 2 hours to smoke. Even though you may not be inhaling directly from the cigar itself, you are still inhaling secondhand smoke for that long. Secondhand smoke has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) by the EPA. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds. More than 60 of these are known or suspected to cause cancer including arsenic, benzene, and vinyl chloride. Still want to take a puff?

Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate effects on your cardiovascular system, and puts you at risk for developing coronary heart disease and lung cancer. Cigar smokers may be exposed to a bunch of others cancers too, such as mouth cancer, throat cancer, and cancer of the gums. Why would you want to put yourself at risk? I just don't get it.

Fit's Tips: So use your brain. Tobacco is tobacco, in any shape, and smoking tobacco products are known to cause illnesses and countless deaths. So take care of yourself and steer clear of cigarettes AND cigars. If not for yourself, than do it for the people who love you. I know I wouldn't want to have to explain to my family that I got lung cancer from smoking.


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