The view that cigar smoking is a glamorous luxury is driving a new surge in an age old danger to oral health. After years of decline, annual cigar consumption nearly doubled from 6.2 billion cigars in 2000 to 12 billion in 2016.
Once something for older men, cigar smoking is now also popular with teens, as 5% of South Dakota middle school students report smoking cigars, as do nearly 10% of high school students in South Dakota. Flavored cigars is likely driving appeal for kids.
Unfortunately, this habit can lead to oral health problems, and it’s addictive and can be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. Teens are especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction.
More than 75% of people diagnosed with oral cancer after age 50 use or have used tobacco. Regular cigar smokers also increase their risk for other serious oral health problems.
While cigarette tobacco is wrapped in paper, cigar tobacco is wrapped in more tobacco, often a tobacco leaf. A large cigar can contain as much tobacco as a pack of cigarettes. Because nicotine in cigar smoke is absorbed through tissues lining the mouth, cigars can be addictive – even when the smoke is not inhaled.
In addition to cancer and gum disease, cigar smoking may increase the risk of heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Because they contain the same toxic and carcinogenic compounds as cigarettes, cigars can be very dangerous to your oral and overall health. When you quit smoking, your mouth and body will start to heal and you can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and more.
The SD QuitLine offers FREE support through counseling, nicotine patches and gum, and other services to help you or those you love to quit any tobacco for good.