- Questions About Smoking, Tobacco, and Health
- Is smoking tobacco really addictive?
- Why do people start smoking?
- How many people use tobacco?
- What in tobacco smoke is harmful?
- Is secondhand (environmental) tobacco smoke dangerous?
- How does tobacco use affect the economy?
- What’s being done to protect people from the hazards of smoking?
- Are spit tobacco and snuff safe alternatives to smoking?
- What are the health risks of smoking pipes or cigars?
- What about electronic cigarettes? Aren’t they safe?
- Is dissolvable tobacco safe?
- What about more exotic forms of smoking tobacco, such as clove cigarettes, bidis, and hookahs?
- What can I do to help with any damage that may have been caused by smoking?
- Can quitting really help a lifelong smoker?
- How do people quit tobacco?
- To learn more
What are the health risks of smoking pipes or cigars?
Many people view cigar smoking as less dangerous than cigarette smoking. Yet one large cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.
Most of the same cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes are found in cigars. And big cigars have as much nicotine as several cigarettes, which can cause addiction.
Smoking cigars causes cancers of the lung, lip, tongue, mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus (swallowing tube), and has been linked to cancers of the bladder and pancreas.
Cigar smokers who inhale deeply and smoke several cigars a day are also at increased risk for heart disease and chronic lung disease. Those who don’t inhale are exposed to secondhand smoke, which also has many health risks.
Pipe smokers have an increased risk of dying from cancers of the lung, lip, throat, esophagus, larynx, pancreas, and colon and rectum. They also have an increased risk of dying of heart disease, stroke, and chronic lung disease. The level of these risks seems to be about the same as that for cigar smokers.
Smoking cigars or pipes is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
To learn more, please see our document called Cigar Smoking.
Last Medical Review: 11/08/2012
Last Revised: 01/17/2013