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Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 12:00 GMT
Cigar smokers 'risk lung cancer'

cigars Lung cancer risk from cigar smoking, claim researchers


Cigar smokers increase their chances of lung cancer by five times over non-smokers, claim researchers.

And the risk of the potentially fatal disease rises to as much as 11 times that of non-smokers for those who inhale the strong smoke from cigars.



We expected to find some increased risk of lung cancer, but we found that cigar smoking is much more lethal than we thought
Eric Jacobs, American Cancer Society
Previous studies have shown cigar smokers to be more at risk of mouth, throat and oesophagus cancers, but the latest research by the American Cancer Society suggests the danger of lung cancer is also high.

More than 137,000 men in the US took part in the study with more than 7,800 saying they smoked at least one cigar daily and had never regularly smoked cigarettes or pipes.

A further 7,800 men were categorised as former cigar smokers.

Inhaled

The risk of lung cancer was found to be five times higher for those who smoked cigars, almost eight times higher for those who smoked three or more a day and 11 times higher if they inhaled the smoke, reported the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

It is common for cigar smokers not to inhale the smoke into the lungs when smoking cigars, unlike cigarette smokers.

Eric Jacobs, a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, said: "We expected to find some increased risk of lung cancer, but we found that cigar smoking is much more lethal than we thought."

Cigar smoking has risen in the US by 50% between 1993 and 1998, reversing two decades of declining sales, according to the Department of Agriculture.

More than 5.3bn cigars were sold in the US in 1998.

Amanda Sandford at ASH - Action on Smoking and Health - said: "The traditional view has been that people who smoke cigars and pipes had more risk of throat and mouth cancer.

"This just confirms the previous research - there is no such thing as a safe tobacco product. There is nothing to be gained by smokers by switching to cigars.

"It is further evidence, if it was needed, of the dangers of smoking."

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association declined to comment.

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See also:
08 Nov 99 |  Health
Cigar smokers risk early death
09 Mar 99 |  Medical notes
Lung cancer
14 Oct 99 |  Health
Tobacco giant admits health risks

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