Cigars vs. Cigarettes

We’ve all heard of how bad it is to smoke cigarettes because of all the chemicals and of how addictive the manufacturers have made them but yet with all this anti-tobacco sentiment I’ve never heard anything about cigars. I’m assuming this is because cigars are just straight tobacco with no extra additives or ingredients. Is this so? And if it is would smoking cigars be better than smoking cigarettes or are they just as bad and addictive? What’s the straight dope?

As a former smoker I can say that cigars can be downright nasty to inhale, which is what causes lung damage.

Yeah, but you’re not supposed to inhale them. I do not know but would imagine that lung cancer rates are lower for cigar smokers (only inhale your own second hand smoke). No idea on how mouth cancer compares though.

From http://rex.nci.nih.gov/massmedia/backgrounders/cigarbk.htm

Wow, thanks bibliophage. Great information. Guess I wont be picking up that hobby anytime soon.

Of course, note that most of the cancer statistics given express the odds of getting the cancer as a multiple of non-smokers. This is a marvelously misleading way of presenting statistics: If the non-smoker odds are very low, then a small multiple of those odds is still likely to be pretty low. For example, it says the risks of getting lung cancer are double. The lung cancer rate for the general population is 70 per 100000. Double that, and you’re at 140 per 100000. Still a pretty small risk.

Larynx cancer is 10 times more likely. That seems like a HUGE number; however, the larynx cancer rate for the general population is about 6 per 100000. 10 times that number would be 60 per 100000, which isn’t that enormous a number (compare it to the lung cancer rate of the general populace).

I’m not saying you should smoke cigars–weigh the risks, make up your own mind, and read government reports on the evils of drugs with a grain of salt.

I think the fact that cigarette smokers out number cigar smokers by so much has a lot to do with it. I think the same holds true for smokeless tobacco (Skoal). If an anti tobacco has a limited amount of funds, it make sense that they would want to get the most bang for their buck.

Another thing to consider is that cigar smokers tend to be “casual” smokers to a far greater degree than cigarette smokers. Although there are cigar smokers who may smoke them everyday there is a large contingency of them who only indulge every now and then, such as myself. On the cigarette front, you don’t see too many people spacing out a pack of Camels over the course of a month.