Cigar Smoking

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Are electronic cigars safe?

The electronic cigarette boom is now spawning sales of other special devices designed to reproduce different types of smoking using vaporized liquids. The electronic cigar (e-cigar) is one of these newer products. E-cigars are designed to look like large cigars, right down to the glowing tip partly covered by fake ash. When the smoker puffs on it, the system delivers a mist of liquid, flavorings, and nicotine that looks something like smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals are absorbed into the mouth or the lungs. The e-cigar is usually sold as a way for a cigar smoker to smoke without the persistent stink of cigar smoke. Unlike e-cigarettes, e-cigars are often wrapped with a real tobacco leaf and are sold as disposable, rather than refillable.

Like e-cigarettes, marketers say that the ingredients are safe, but this means only that they are considered safe to eat. Inhaling a substance is not the same as swallowing it. Like, e-cigarettes, e-cigars are not labeled with their ingredients, so the user doesn’t know what’s in them. The amount of nicotine and other substances a person gets is also unclear.

E-cigars are designed to deliver nicotine, which is known to be an addictive substance. This strongly suggests that e-cigar use can lead to dependence, unless the user weans him or herself from them. But electronic smoking devices are getting more popular. A CDC survey published in 2013 showed that e-cigarette use in middle school and high school students doubled between 2011 and 2012, with 10% of high school students and 3% of middle school kids using them. Given the popularity of cigars among high school students, it’s very possible that e-cigars will be in schools next.

Very little reliable information is available about the e-cigar; safety and long-term health effects are unknown. This is an area where research is badly needed. These new products need to be researched and regulated.

Last Medical Review: 02/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/19/2014