The Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention AllianceFACT SHEET:

Over the past few years, the use of cigars in developed countries has increased dramatically. Carefully planned and executed publicity by the tobacco industry has created the perception that smoking cigars is a glamorous “hobby” that can be safely enjoyed. This is not true, and has left the public largely unaware or misinformed about the facts regarding the health hazards of cigar smoking.

  • Cigars release many of the same carcinogens and gases (e.g., carbon monoxide) as cigarettes. In fact, the carbon monoxide emissions from one cigar are 30 times higher than from one cigarette.(1)
  • Cancer death rates for cigar smokers are over 30% higher than for non-smokers. (1)
  • Cigar smoking can lead to cancer of the larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus and lungs.(1)
  • Cigar smokers are 3 to 5 times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers.(1)
  • Cigar smokers are 3 to 5 times more likely to get emphysema than non-smokers.(1)
  • The risk of having a stroke is about 2 times as high for cigar smokers as it is for non-smokers.(1)
  • Secondhand cigar smoke is more poisonous than secondhand cigarette smoke. One cigar equals the smoke of 3 cigarettes. Cigar smoke is the worst type of secondhand smoke.(1)
  • Ninety-nine percent of cigar smokers have changes in the cells in their voice boxes, which is the first step toward the development of cancer.(1)
  • Those who switch to cigars from cigarettes and continue to inhale have no reduction in health risks at all; the risks are the same as for those who smoke cigarettes. Inhaling cigar smoke is actually MORE damaging to the respiratory tract than cigarette smoke.(1)


(1) “The unglamorous cigar,” Dr. Carol Betson. Published report, the University of Hong Kong. 1998.