**When talking about possible health benefits of nicotine, it seems to me that making a distinction between smoking methods would be appropriate. After all, there is a vast difference between inhaling large amounts of smoke into your lungs, all day, every day, and, well, not.
I’ve found it hard to come across statistics, having only the internet, and not the vast resources of Cecil, but I read somewhere that pipe smokers have about the same mortality rate as non-smokers, and that cancer and other lung disease is relatively rare among cigar smokers. And of course there are various forms of chewing tobacco, which involve no smoke at all. I think it’s also worth mentioning the difference in purity and quality between American cigarettes and nearly every other form of tobacco, particularly as many cig smokers have been reduced to much cheaper and presumably inferior products by excessive taxation.
How about updating that column with some statistics? It’s hard to come by reliable info on this highly politicized topic, so we turn to you, Cecil. How dangerous are these other forms of tobacco use compared to cigarette smoking? What’s the safest way to enjoy tobacco?
ETA: Link to relevant column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1101/does-smoking-have-any-health-em-benefits-em