(HealthDay News) — Smoking cigars carries the same health risks as smoking cigarettes, according to a new review published online in BMC Public Health.

Cindy Chang, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md., and colleaguesconducted a review that included 22 North American and European studies assessing the risk of death associated with cigars and cigarettes. The studies primarily included white men who began cigar smoking in the 1960s. Cigar consumption in the United States more than doubled from 6.2 billion in 2000 to 13.7 billion in 2011, according to the researchers. Over that same time period, there was a 33% decrease in cigarette consumption.

The researchers found that people who only smoked cigars and didn’t use other tobacco products had an increased risk of death from all causes. The risk of death from oral, esophageal, and lung cancers was higher for cigar smokers, whether they inhaled the cigar smoke or not. Cigar smokers who previously smoked cigarettes had a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than those who had not previously smoked cigarettes.

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“The results reinforce the fact that cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking. Cigar smoking is linked to fatal oral, esophageal, pancreatic, laryngeal, and lung cancers, as well as heart disease and aortic aneurysm,” Chang said in a news release from BMC Public Health

The growing use of cigars by older children and young adults is particularly troubling, the study authors said. In 2009 to 2010, about 16% of Americans ages 18 to 24 said they had smoked cigars at least 1 day in the past 30 days, the researchers reported.


  1. Chang, CM, et al. BMC Public Health, 2015, 15:390; doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1617-5.