Facts About Cigar Smoking —Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since 1993, the use of cigars in the United States has increased by 34 percent. Previous Surgeon General’s Reports on the health consequences of smoking presented clear evidence that cigar smoking represents a significant health risk and is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. The following are estimates of cigar smoking reported in the United States and the health risks attributed to cigar use.

  • Nearly 4.6 billion cigars were used in 1996; the second consecutive year in which the cigar industry exceeded a billion dollars in sales.
  • Production of cigars is at its highest level since the mid-1980s. An estimated 1.5 billion small cigars were manufactured in 1996, an increase of 4 percent from 1995.
  • An estimated 6 million U.S. teenagers (26.7 percent) 14­19 years of age—4.3 million males (37 percent) and 1.7 million females (16 percent)—smoked at least one cigar within the past year. Rates of cigar use did not vary by region within the United States.
  • U.S. students in grades 9­12 who smoked cigarettes or used smokeless tobacco products also were more likely to report smoking cigars. Nearly three-fourths of male and one-third of female cigarette and smokeless tobacco users reported smoking at least one cigar in the past year.
  • The 1982 Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking: Cancer concluded that cigar smoking causes laryngeal cancer, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and lung cancer. Cigar smokers have a 4­10 times risk of dying from laryngeal, oral, and esophageal cancers as compared with nonsmokers.
  • Smoking five or more cigars per day elevates the risk of dying from lung cancer 2­3 times when compared with a nonsmoker. An increased risk for developing lung cancer also has been correlated with increased use of cigars and pipes as measured by both amount smoked and depth of inhalation.
  • The 1984 Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) concluded that cigar smokers experience higher mortality from COPD compared with nonsmokers.
  • Several prospective epidemiological studies examined the relationship between cigar smoking and mortality from COPD and found that cigar smokers are 1.3­3.6 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Office of Communication
Division of Media Relations
Atlanta, GA


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