Cigar smoking seems to be sanctioned by the U.S. media, according to researchers. This may be due in part
to the image created by advertisements like the one shown in a 1992 Cigar Aficionado spot -- Cigar Smoker.
Contrast this to an actual study conducted by Philip Morris in 1994 that profiled people who
smoke non-premium cigars (complete PDF document 158K).
Profile of Cigar Smokers
Compared to cigarette only smokers, cigar smokers are more likely to:
Compared to cigarette only smokers, dual cigar/cigarette smokers exhibit:
- Be younger: 45% of cigar smokers are between the ages of 18 and 24, vs. 29% of cigarette only
- Be students: 26% of cigar smokers are currently students, vs. 18% of cigarette only smokers.
- Have lower Household Incomes: Cigar smokers' mean HH income is $29.4K, with almost half reporting
incomes of less than $20K. Mean HH income for cigarette only smokers is $31.2K.
Over half the cigar smokers smoke a cigar at least once a week, with a full 20% reporting daily cigar
smoking. The remaining 40% of smokers report smoking cigars once a month or less often.
- Slightly higher cigarette consumption: Cigar/cigarette smokers average 22 cigarettes a
day, v. 19 for cigarette only smokers.
- A slight skew towards Camel as their regular brand.
The influence of others plays the greatest role in the smoker's decision to pick up cigars, 4 in 19
respondents cite a friend of family member as the reason they began smoking cigars.
Cigar smoking occurs most often in group events, such as gatherings with friends for parties or recreation.
Interestingly, a majority of cigarette only smokers interviewed by Philip Morris for this study reported they believed
cigarette smoking was growing less popular (53%). A plurality (40%) of cigarette/cigar smokers felt this way.
Nevertheless, the media, Hollywood movies, continue to further the false perceptions about cigar smoking.
"Print media coverage of cigars was unjustifiably favourable and failed to let the public know of the health risks involved," said Lynn Wenger
of the University of California at San Francisco and the lead author of the report. In an analysis of nearly
800 magazine and newspaper articles on cigars, Ms. Wenger and her colleagues found that only 4 per cent focused
on their health effects. And in articles that compared cigars with cigarettes, cigars were touted as more socially
acceptable, less harmful to health or as containing fewer chemicals than cigarettes.
Source: American Journal of Public Health, March 2001
"I firmly believe that the relaxation that comes from smoking a cigar, when the smoke is not inhaled, will
someday be proved to outweigh any of the small increases in health risks associated with it."
Publisher of the magazine, Cigar Aficionado
According to an article in USA TODAY, the
rising popularity of cigars, and the belief that they are a safe alternative
to cigarettes, has prompted scientists and health officials to look more
closely at the health risks associated with cigar smoking.
Donald Shopland, National Cancer Institute (NCI), is compiling a monograph on the health risks of cigars
due out early this spring (latest release - April 10, 1998). Shopland
states that premium cigars have 15 to 20 times more tobacco than a cigarette, and smoking one cigar
is like "smoking a whole pack of cigarettes."
In addition, cigars emit 22 times more
carbon monoxide, a chief factor in tobacco-related heart attacks, than cigarettes.
Because cigars are smoked longer than cigarettes, and cigar smokers tend
to gather at parties or lounges, cigar smokers will be exposed to more harmful
smoke and chemicals than cigarette smokers.
Source: USA TODAY, (2/23/98) "Safe Cigarette Alternative? No Cigar",
Doug Levy, p. D10
To learn more about this question, local researchers interviewed
healthcare professionals, cigar shop owners, and cigar smokers of all ages,
cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.
These scientists reported a doubling of cigar consumption
of boys aged 12 - 17 years, indicating a trend similar to that of spit tobacco.
There are disturbing links between cigar smoking and alcohol
consumption, and many advertisements are aimed at selling cigars to women
as an elegant, sophisticated, independent lifestyle choice.
Female smokers are three times more likely to get lung cancer than male smokers.
Cigar smoking is viewed by some experts as rebellious behavior
directed at the public health initiatives of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
A slew of recent films, TV shows, and youth-oriented music
have glamorized cigar use. Even President Clinton has been photographed
chomping on a cigar while playing golf.
Cigars are NOT a safe alternative to cigarettes -- the facts are clear.
More on Cigar History
The average cigarette contains about 1.1 milligrams of
nicotine while the average cigar can boast anywhere from 10 to 400 times
Even if cigar smokers don't inhale, they are taking in
nicotine, and people who switch from cigarettes to cigars tend to smoke
cigars like they smoked cigarettes.
Some other interesting facts about the health hazards related
to cigar use are:
- The risk of lung cancer in those who
smoke cigars is three times that of nonsmokers.
- Cigar smokers have higher rates of mouth,
tongue, throat, and voice box cancer than cigarette smokers. One study
found that 90% of cigar smokers have precancerous changes in the cells
of their voice box.
- A cigar can produce more than twenty-five
times as much secondhand smoke as a cigarette.
Source: DIRECT NEWS, New Mexico ASSIST Project, Fall 1997, Volume 3, Issue 3.
National Cancer Institute To Release New Report On Cigars
A National Cancer Institute (NCI) report
on cigars found that cigar smoking can cause cancers of the mouth, esophagus,
larynx and lung, as well as lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease
and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The government could use the findings to
impose new restrictions on the sale and marketing of cigars, which have
been thus far exempt from strict regulations. Donald Shopland, coordinator
of NCI's tobacco control program, said of the report, "This is the
most comprehensive assessment of what we know about the health risks and
trends of cigar smoking in this country."
The report is scheduled to be released by NCI next week.
Source(s):THE BALTIMORE SUN, (4/10/98) "Government Report
Links Cigars To Lethal Ailments", Alec Klein
NCI Cigar Report Details Smoking Hazards
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) released
the results of a report that found cigar use can result in cancer of the
tongue, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, and lung. The report, entitled
"Cigars: Health Effects and Trends," notes that smoking even one
or two cigars a day poses significant health risks.
The report also found that since cigars
generate higher levels of second-hand smoke with more hazardous substances
than cigarettes, non-smokers are also at risk. Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) Chairman Robert Pitofsky, who argues that cigars should be regulated
in the same way as cigarettes, will petition Congress to pass legislation
requiring warning labels on cigars. Current tobacco legislation before
Congress from the Senate Commerce Committee lists cigars as nicotine-containing
products to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Donald Shopland, editorial director for
the NCI project, compared the report to the landmark 1964 Surgeon Generals'
report on the dangers of cigarette smoking, saying: "This report will
define the disease risk of smoking for cigars, much as we defined the disease
risk in 1964 for smoking cigarettes." Cigar sales have increased by
50 percent since 1993, with current sales of over 5 billion per year.
Source(s): WALL STREET JOURNAL, (4/13/98) "FTC Chief Seeks
Cigar Health Warnings", Bruce Ingersoll, p. A2
USA TODAY, (4/13/98) "Unknown", Rita Rubin,
WASHINGTON POST, (4/11/98) "Cancer Institute Calls
Cigars As Hazardous As Cigarettes", John Schwartz, p. A6
NEW YORK TIMES, (4/11/98) "Federal Warning On Cigar
Smoking", Associated Press, p. A10
InfoImagination © 2000 -- All Rights Reserved