Over the past 20 years, cigar and pipe smoking has gotten more popular. Even tax laws are friendlier to those using cigars and pipes than those smoking cigarettes. But if you thought smoking these types of tobacco was safe, a new study may make you think again.
Cigarette smoking has been on the decline in the United States for years. Between 2000 and 2006, cigarette smoking decreased by 13 percent. But cigar smoking alone jumped 37 percent in the same time period. Pipe smoking increased too.
Pipe and cigar smokers might think their habit is safe, but is it really? Authors of a new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, send that idea up in flames.
The researchers analyzed the effects of cigar or pipe smoking in close to 3,500 adults, ages 48 to 90. They found that people who smoke cigars or pipes do, in fact, inhale toxic substances. Although the levels were not as high as in cigarette smokers, cigar and pipe smokers had significant levels of cotinine in their urine, a signal of tobacco smoke absorption in the body. This increases the risk for smoking-related health problems.
The findings also showed that people who smoked cigars or pipes had more than double the risk for airway obstruction compared with nonsmokers. And the more they used cigars or pipes, the greater their breathing problems. Cigar and pipe smoking increases the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the fourth leading cause of death in this country.
Bottom line? No form of smoking is safe. For help in quitting, visit www.smokefree.gov.
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Research shows that talking with a counselor on the phone can double a smoker's chance of quitting. One of the easiest ways to access a counselor when you're ready to stop smoking is to dial up a quitline.
Depending on your needs, counselors also might steer you to nicotine replacement products, local classes, print brochures, and support from family and friends.
These tips can help you make the most of your quitline call: