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Home > Tobacco Use Cessation Program > Didactic Components > Cigar Facts

Cigar Facts

Cigar smoking is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking..
A cigar is a nicotine delivery device - a product with serious health risks.

Types of Cigars

Little (1.3-2.5g, 70-120mm)
Small (Cigarillos)
Regular (Large) (5-17g, 110-150 mm, 17mm diameter)
Premium (can contain as much tobacco as 15-20 cigarettes)


US consumption of cigars has increased dramatically since 1993. The fastest growing segment of the cigar market has been the premium cigar category where sales have increased by 154% since 1993 but have not started to decrease.

In 1990 the small percentage of current cigar smokers was distributed fairly evenly by education status. By 1996 more educated males had increased their use of cigars. The most highly educated had more than doubled their rate of current cigar use.

There has been an increase in cigar smoking among 18-24-year-olds (a threefold increase) and 25-44-year-olds (a twofold increase). There also appears to be an increase in cigar use in ages 14-19.

Currently, cigar use among adolescent males exceeds the use of smokeless tobacco in several states. This use is occurring among both males and females.

Risks of Cigar Use

Compared to a cigarette, a large cigar emits 20X more ammonia, 10X more cadmium, and 90X more nitrosamines specific to tobacco.
Cigar smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical components, including over 50 known human carcinogens.
Cigar smokers have a 2-10X greater risk of oral, laryngeal, and esophageal cancers and a 5-11X greater risk of lung cancer than do non-smokers.
Cigar smokers are 5X more likely to get emphysema than non-smokers.
Cigars are also associated with coronary heart disease and the risk depends on the depth of inhalation and on the number of cigars smoked per day.
Nicotine does not have to be inhaled to damage the heart and blood vessels. Mainstream cigarette smoke is slightly acidic. Mainstream cigar smoke is alkaline and therefore it is effectively absorbed into the blood stream through the oral mucosa.
Cigar smokers have an increased risk of periodontal diseases (alveolar bone loss and tooth loss) similar to cigarette smokers.
Cigar smokers often suffer from badly stained teeth and dental restorations, chronic bad breath, and impaired wound healing.
Secondhand cigar smoke is more dangerous than secondhand cigarette smoke. A single smoking cigar in an unventilated room produces the equivalent air pollution of 42 burning cigarettes.
The average cigar emits 3X as much carcinogenic cancer causing matter and 30X as much carbon monoxide as one cigarette.
This secondhand smoke adversely effects the health of non-smokers including children, adults, and pets.

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