Smoking cigars every day is not a safe or healthy practice for your body. Let’s just be clear about that up front. Smoking too much tobacco, even when you’re not drawing the smoke into your lungs, can cause some types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. If you are a cigar smoker, the best thing you can do for your health is to limit your smoking and savor your cigars only once in a while.
To us, that makes the days you do get to enjoy a cigar that much more exciting. It’s what our mom’s used to call a “sometimes treat.” And when you have a sometimes-treat, it’s worth paying a little extra for the really nice stuff. So, while we would never claim that cigars are healthy or OK, it’s reasonable to enjoy good quality ones in moderation.
Can Cigars be Bad for You?
Cigars are made from tobacco leaves that are fermented and aged, then wrapped in more tobacco leaves. The point is–cigars contain a lot of tobacco. Since cigars are so big (compared to cigarettes, anyway) a single cigar delivers a high concentration of nicotine and other harmful substances to the body.
As much as we’d like to change this fact, yes, cigars can be bad for your health. Like so many things that feed your soul and put a smile on your face, too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad for you. We highly suggest enjoying your cigars slowly, making an experience out of it—that’s what they’re made for.
But Are Cigars Bad for Your Health if You Only Smoke Occasionally?
What kind of self respecting cigar smoker doesn’t break into their stash for a special occasion? Cigars can be a wonderful way to celebrate a beautiful day with friends and family. We usually get asked for advice on cigars for occasions like:
- Significant birthdays
- New born babies
- Job promotions
- First BBQ of the season
When fun things in life happen, you celebrate by smoking a nice cigar. You might even bring out your finest selection you’ve been saving for something really special. Occasions like these aren’t everyday occurrences and smoking cigars shouldn’t be either. If you want your body to stay in good condition and you want to be able to enjoy your cigars for many years to come it’s best to limit your smoking to every so often.
Even though you don’t inhale the smoke, puffing on cigars can still have negative health effects over time. The smoke can irritate the lining of your mouth and throat, and the nicotine in cigars can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Smoke your cigars like you would your BBQ: Low and slow, along with some tender loving care. That’s what will give you the best results in the end. Enjoying a cigar is about the quality of the cigar and the experience you get from it, and not about the quantity. (If you find that you are craving tobacco more often, then it’s time to talk to someone about a smoking cessation program. Cigars are cool, addiction is not.)
Benefits of Slowly Enjoying a Good Quality Cigar
You’ve picked the perfect cigar to go with your aged whiskey, you’ve cut it straight across (just the way you like), and you’ve settled on the porch. All that preparation and anticipation would be lost if you were to take short, quick drags til your cigar was finished. There are a few reasons it’s better to smoke cigars slowly.
- You get to enjoy your cigar for longer! When you take your time smoking, it really becomes an event. Smoking slowly is deliberate and it’s a good way to enjoy your cigar.
- You get more for your money when you smoke a good quality cigar because it becomes more of an experience than an object.
- When you share your cigars with loved ones you can enjoy smoking together for hours. No need to rush and this gives you plenty of time to strengthen the bonds you have with them and with the art of smoking cigars.
Effects on Your Body of Smoking Cigars vs. Cigarettes
It’s true: Cigars pose many of the same health risks as cigarettes, and both can have some pretty serious health consequences. We want people to be informed about these health risks so that they can make wise decisions and, if they choose to enjoy a cigar, they can learn to moderate appropriately.
Possible Effects of Cigars on Your Health
- Cancer: Cigars can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and lungs. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigar smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke, including nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and benzene.
- Respiratory problems: Cigars can damage the lungs and lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory conditions.
- Cardiovascular disease: Cigars increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
- Oral health: Cigars can cause gum disease, tooth loss, and other dental problems.
- Addiction: Like cigarettes, cigars contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Cigar smokers can become addicted to nicotine and experience withdrawal symptoms if smoking on a regular basis.
Note that these tend to be the same health risks that come with cigarettes! This is because the smoke and the nicotine are the same.
That said, there are some small differences as well:
- Intake. Cigarette smoke is taken into the lungs, which cigar smoke usually isn’t. This means that the nicotine and other chemicals are absorbed into the blood more quickly with cigarettes.
- Burn. Cigarettes burn much faster. And because cigarettes burn faster, the temptation is to smoke them quickly…and then move to the next one. This is what gives rise to the “chain smoker.” (Chain smoking cigars is seldom heard of.)
- Additives. To make cigarettes burn faster and deliver nicotine more quickly, most cigarette companies add a number of chemicals to their cigarettes. So, while oth cigars and cigarettes have chemicals (they both have nicotine, after all), the number of artificial chemicals in cigarettes is much higher—over 500 of them, by some counts. By contrast, premium cigars only have two added ingredients: Water, and time. Everything else is natural tobacco leaf.
Again, we’re not saying that any of the above makes cigars healthy. They do, however, make us suspect that cigarettes are more likely to become addictive, more readily consumed in unhealthy quantities, and thus more likely to lead to severe health problems.
Smoking in Moderation is Better for Your Body
Tl;dr tobacco should not be enjoyed in excess, period. Cigars might make it a little easier to enjoy in moderation.
Before you do, please take a moment to be informed about the risks. Namely, addiction, heart disease, and cancer can come from smoking excessively no matter which product you enjoy. Again, that’s why we stress smoking cigars in moderation.
If you choose to enjoy a cigar, it should be more of an experience, not a way to feed a nicotine addiction. It’s a treat you get to enjoy every once in a while on a special day. And if you need the perfect high-quality cigar for that special occasion, see our selection of popular cigar brands at Flying Cigar Company.
Because we would rather be part of a long lifetime of such special experiences.