MONDAY, April 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking cigars carries the same health risks as smoking cigarettes, according to a new review published online April 24 in BMC Public Health.
Cindy Chang, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues conducted a review that included 22 North American and European studies assessing the mortality risk associated with cigars and cigarettes. The studies primarily included white men who began cigar smoking in the 1960s. Cigar consumption in the United States more than doubled from 6.2 billion in 2000 to 13.7 billion in 2011, according to the researchers. Over that same time period, there was a 33 percent decrease in cigarette consumption.
The researchers found that people who only smoked cigars and didn't use other tobacco products had an increased all-cause mortality risk. The mortality risk from oral, esophageal, and lung cancers was higher for cigar smokers, whether they inhaled the cigar smoke or not. Cigar smokers who previously smoked cigarettes had a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than those who had not previously smoked cigarettes.
"The results reinforce the fact that cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking. Cigar smoking is linked to fatal oral, esophageal, pancreatic, laryngeal, and lung cancers, as well as heart disease and aortic aneurysm," Chang said in a news release from BMC Public Health. The growing use of cigars by older children and young adults is particularly troubling, the study authors said. In 2009 to 2010, about 16 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 said they had smoked cigars at least one day in the past 30 days, the researchers reported.