Cigar and Pipe Smoking Ups Health Risks

Published Online: Sunday, February 1, 2004

Cigar and pipe smoking poses the same health risks as relatively light cigarette smoking, according to data from a long-running health study of middle-aged British men that began in the 1970s. Among the >7100 participants, who were in their 40s and 50s at the beginning of the study, the researchers found that those who smoked cigars or pipes faced higher risks of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other health problems, compared with nonsmokers. Also, they were 49% more likely to die over the 20-year study period.

These risks were equal to those of men who smoked up to 19 cigarettes daily. The study included both primary cigar or pipe smokers-those who had never smoked cigarettes-and secondary cigar or pipe smokers-former cigarette smokers who had switched to cigars or pipes. The results of the study showed that together these 2 groups were 69% more likely to suffer a fatal or nonfatal heart attack or to die of cardiac arrest, compared with nonsmokers. Also, these 2 groups were 62% more apt to have a fatal or nonfatal stroke. (The findings were published recently in the International Journal of Epidemiology.)

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