The image of a stogie-chomping, high-powered celebrity can be a glamorous one that we all would like to emulate at times however the serious health issues caused by the growing fad of cigar smoking are many and a long-term concern for both the health system and general public.
Cigar smoking has many proven associated health risks and not just for the smoker either; people who passively inhale the cigar smoke may be at greater risk of developing certain diseases.
So, are the health risks for cigar smokers severe? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse the use of tobacco kills more people than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined, (annual statistics from the U.S.). Scary!
When one considers that a single cigar can contain more tobacco than a whole packet of cigarettes then the full weight of the smoking risk involved begins to come to light. Add to this the components found in cigars; these include the following long list: carbon monoxide, nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, volatile aldehydes, formaldehyde, urethane, naphthalene, benzene, aromatic amines (carcinogens – 2-naphthylamine, 4-minobiphenyl), vinyl chloride (substance used to make plastics), ethylene oxide, arsenic, chromium. nitrosamines, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, cadmium, radioactive polonium 210 and nitrogen compounds – nitrates and nitrites. Throw tar into the equation too. Yuck!
The specific health problems related to cigar smoking are many and varied and considering that cigar manufacturers are not legally obliged to include health warnings on their packaging the situation is indeed a frightening one.
POSSIBLE HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH CIGAR SMOKING:
* Cancers of the lung, mouth, lip, tongue, throat, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, and possibly pancreas.
* Chronic bronchitis
* Aggravation of asthma
* Coronary heart disease, including stroke and heart attack. (One fifth of heart diseases are attributable to smoking).
* Vascular diseases, aneurysms.
* Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung disease).
* Peridontal disease, tooth erosion, tooth and supporting bone loss, stained teeth, chronic bad breath.
* Other chronic conditions of the liver, brain, gastrointestinal concerns, prostate problems, rare form of male breast cancer, lymphoma and even leukemia. Some studies have suggested that cigar and cigarette smoke may even be a contributing factor in sudden infant deaths (SIDS).
Many cigar smokers have an immediate improvement in their blood pressure, pulse rate and breathing patterns when they give the habit up. A great incentive to do so!
Although some famous cigar smokers like the legendary George Burns live to a ripe old age, they tend to be the exception to the rule. The media and Hollywood have glamorized cigars but the evidence of health risk is unquestionable. Cigar tobacco may be less chemically processed than cigarette tobacco, and lung inhalation is less, but the toxic effects of cigar smoke are still a grave concern.
According to statistics cigar sales have increased by 50% since 1993 and over 5 billion units are sold every year! (That’s nearly one cigar for every person on Planet Earth – Yikes!)
Cigars can kill, have no doubt about it!
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