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Health Risks & Benefits of Smoking Cigars

Connoisseurs Do Not Inhale

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Updated January 19, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Disclaimer: This piece has not been reviewed by a physician and information below may not be accurate. For information on the risks of cigar smoking that has been reviewed by a physician, please see the health hazards associated with cigar smoking.

We are all aware of the dangers of smoking. Inhaling the smoke from cigarettes (and even cigars) on a daily basis can cause several types of cancer. However, the health risks to the casual cigar smoker, who smokes no more than a few cigars per week and does not inhale, are not as significant.

Health Benefits to Smoking Cigars

Are there any health benefits to cigar smoking? Long before all the research proved that it was dangerous to smoke, tobacco was actually used for medicinal purposes. Although we now know that it will not cure cancer and other diseases, some cigar enthusiasts will argue that cigars can be smoked to relax, and therefore, lower the blood pressure. Besides, if smoking cigars brings relaxation or enjoyment, then it is providing a mental health benefit. Tobacco is also believed to be an aid in controlling weight. Stretching a bit further, cigar smoke can repel flying insects, and therefore, lower the risk of contracting St. Louis encephalitis or the West Nile virus when enjoying the great outdoors.

It's Your Call

Not to make light of the health consequences of cigar smoking, but the old rule about enjoying everything in moderation seems to apply. If you smoke less than one cigar per day, then that makes you an occasional cigar smoker. According to cancer.org, "The health risks linked to occasional cigar smoking (less than daily) are not known". Therefore, there is no definitive proof that the health of most people would be significantly impacted by smoking one or two cigars per week. However, since the jury is still out on occasional cigar smoking, the final decision about how much to smoke, if at all, is your own.
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