Smoking cigars is not a safer alternative option to the smoking of cigarettes according to a new US study, which has concluded that cigars are connected to many of the potentially fatal health hazards with which smoking is associated. FDA researchers, headed by Cindy Chang, published their findings in the medical journal “BMC Public Health”, after conducting a meta-analysis of 22 studies from across the globe, including from the USA, the UK, Canada, Denmark and Finland, concerning the smoking of cigars.
As Chang pointed out the findings reinforce the conclusion that smoking cigars entails many similar health risks as the smoking of cigarettes, since the smoking of cigars is linked to “fatal oral, oesophageal, pancreatic, laryngeal, and lung cancers, as well as heart disease and aortic aneurysm.”
The researchers mentioned that that those who smoked cigars and had previously smoked cigarettes had a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to cigar smokers who had not previously smoked cigarettes, highlighting that the differences in risks levels may be partly explained by the different inhalation patterns of the different types of cigar smokers.
Cindy Chang pointed out that some risks associated with cigar smoking can be as high or even higher than with cigarette smoking. However, the consumption of cigars in on the rise globally. In the USA for example, it has double from 6,2 billion in 2000 to 13,7 billion in 2011, while during the same period the consumption of cigarettes fell by 33%.
What is more alarming is the rise in the smoking of cigars amongst the youngest generations since in the past the smoking of cigars was usually the habit of older and more affluent people. The rise in the demand of cigars in the recent years has caused great changes in the supply side as well since the global market does not only offer big and expensive cigars like in the past, but also a great variety of cigars in different sizes, flavours and packaging. The fact that more and more young people are taking up cigars is largely attributed to the new and wide range of flavoured cigars.
It remains to be seen whether the anti tobacco campaigners as well as governments will make cigars their new arch-enemy and attempt to overturn this new trend through new combating measures.