Smoking cigars can adversely affect a person’s health. In some ways, smoking them is worse than smoking cigarettes due to their contents. However, there are several ways a person can quit cigar smoking.

Smoking cigars can harm someone’s health. It can increase an individual’s risk of various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

The article below examines the health effects of smoking cigars, how to quit smoking cigars, the differences between smoking cigars and cigarettes, and the general health outlook.

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In the United States, three types of cigars are available: large, little, and cigarillos. All three cigars contain tobacco, nicotine, and other chemicals.

Research from 2019 found that the type of cigar may influence the depth of inhalation and frequency of use. Both factors affect a person’s risk of disease, but researchers do not know to what extent.

Read more about the reasons why smoking is bad.

How common is cigar smoking?

Cigar smoking is relatively common. Statistics from 2020 show3.5% of all adults smoke cigars. Adult males have the highest rate of cigar smoking at 6.2%. Additionally, some teens also smoke cigars. About 2.8% of students in grades 9–12 smoked cigars in 2022.

Regardless of the exact type, smoking cigars may have some health effects, including the below.

People who smoke cigars have an increased risk of various types of cancer, such as lung, kidney, and colon cancer.

Individuals who smoke cigars have the same risk of dying from cancer as those who smoke cigarettes. Cigar smokers are four to 10 times more likely to die from esophageal, laryngeal, and oral cancer than those who do not smoke.

Heart disease includes conditions that affect the heart and its function, such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

Smoking cigars has similar effects on the heart as using other forms of tobacco. About one-third of deaths from heart disease are due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Research from 2019 found that cigar smoking caused about 200,000 cancer and cardiovascular disease cases in adults aged 35 years and over in 2015.

Smoking any type of tobacco product, including cigars, can lead to problems with the teeth and gums.

Smoking weakens the body’s immune system, making it difficult to fight gum infections. Once a person has gum damage, smoking slows down the healing process of the gums.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both diseases occur due to lung damage and cause problems breathing.

People who smoke cigars, especially those who inhale deeply or smoke heavily, have an increased risk of developing COPD than nonsmokers.

Like cigarette smoking, cigar smoke may cause harm to pregnant individuals and their fetuses.

According to the American Thoracic Society, smoking cigars may increase the risk of:

  • stillbirth
  • low birth weight
  • premature birth
  • sudden infant death syndrome

Many strategies to stop smoking cigarettes are effective in quitting smoking cigars. Individuals can find resources to stop smoking cigars through a doctor or local smoking cessation program.

Smoking cessation techniques and strategies include:

  • nicotine replacement, such as gum, patches, and lozenges
  • medications, such as varenicline, bupropion
  • behavior modification counseling
  • hypnosis

Read more about ways to quit smoking.

Both cigars and cigarettes contain tobacco and nicotine. They also contain additional chemicals that are harmful to someone’s health.

Cigars and cigarettes differ in some ways. Usually, cigars contain one type of fermented and air-cured tobacco. Cigars often contain from around 1 gram (g) up to 20 g of tobacco. One large cigar may contain the same amount of tobacco as a pack of cigarettes.

Manufacturers wrap cigarettes in paper and cigars in tobacco leaf. Cigarettes contain different blends of nonfermented tobacco and are also the same size. Each contains less than 1 g of tobacco. In some cases, cigar smokers do not inhale, but most cigarette smokers do inhale.

Cigars may have higher concentrations of certain cancer-causing chemicals than cigarettes. For instance, the fermenting process for cigars produces high levels of nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Cigars may also have more tar than cigarettes since they may contain more tobacco.

The outlook for people who smoke cigars is unfavorable if they do not quit.

Cigar smoking increases the risk of several medical conditions and diseases, but the sooner someone quits smoking cigars, the better for their health.

There are several resources to help someone quit smoking. Many people make several attempts before they quit smoking for good. But it is possible to break the habit and stop smoking cigars.

Smoking cigars can harm an individual’s health. Cigars often have more tobacco and tar than cigarettes and carry similar risks of diseases.

Cigar smoking increases the risk of cancer, including lung and heart disease.

There are several ways to quit smoking, including medications, nicotine replacement, and behavior counseling.