Out on the golf course, after a meeting, or after a hard day on the job it has become common for construction workers to light up a cigar. Cigar use has nearly doubled among California males since 1990. Smoking one or two cigars a day doubles the risk for oral and esophageal cancer, but the smoker is not the only one threatened.
o Because cigars contain a greater mass of tobacco than cigarettes, they generate larger amounts of secondhand smoke containing all the cancer causing ingredients in tobacco.
o The aging and fermentation process for cigar tobaccos creates higher levels of tobacco specific nitro amines (some of the most potent human carcinogens known) in cigar smoke.
o The combination of a nonporous cigar wrapper and low combustion temperature creates a higher concentration of particulates than cigarette smoke.
o These factors, plus the longer smoking time, produces higher exposures to many toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide. Cigar smoke has 20 times more ammonia, 10 times more cadmium and 80 – 90 times the nitro amines as cigarette smoke.
Glitzy magazines, movie stars, and sports figures try to give cigar use the smell of success. But, secondhand smoke from cigars is the smell of death.
Source: National Cancer Institute Monograph, April 10, 1998