Cigars vs. Cigarettes - Which is worse?

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Published on October 15, 2020

Cigars vs. Cigarettes – Which is Worse?

Are cigars worse than cigarettes?

Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you, but what about cigars? Are they just as bad? It’s a question many people ponder. There seem to be two distinct perceptions when it comes to cigars and cigarettes. Cigars are considered more classy (think fancy clubs) and for celebratory use (like a new baby). Cigarettes, on the other hand, are considered addictive and dangerous. No matter the perception, cigarettes and cigars can both cause cancer. Cigars are more likely to cause oral cancer, and cigarettes are more likely to cause lung cancer.

Both products contain tobacco. A main difference is that a cigar is wrapped in a tobacco leaf or a material containing tobacco, but cigarettes are wrapped in paper or a material that does not contain tobacco. Cigars tend to be unfiltered while most cigarettes have filtered ends. Cigars are usually bigger and thicker than cigarettes, last longer when smoked and contain more tobacco.

There is a big difference in the amount of nicotine in each. Cigars can have up to 100-200 milligrams of nicotine and cigarettes average eight milligrams. That means smoking one cigar can have as much nicotine as more than a pack of unfiltered cigarettes.

Another difference is how they're consumed. While cigarette smoke is inhaled into the lungs, cigar smoke is typically left in the mouth. Since cigarette smoke travels into the lungs, the absorption of nicotine into the bloodstream is much higher than cigars, which pass nicotine through the tissues in your mouth.

”While the production, look and consumption of cigars and cigarettes are different, they both pose serious health risks,” stated Edwin Lin MD, hematology oncology at PIH Health Whittier Hospital. “One of the best ways to prevent cancer is to never start smoking and quit as soon as possible.” Smoking, whether it’s cigars or cigarettes is never recommended by health professionals.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.