By: University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Last year, FDA staff, led by Cindy Chang, published in BMC Public Health(available here) a systematic review of the risks of cigar smoking, declaring that their action was “not a formal dissemination of information by the FDA and does not represent agency position or policy.”

The authors reviewed 22 prospective epidemiologic studies on cigars and health outcomes; they produced tables of results for many smoking-related diseases.

This entry will explore results for deaths from all causes and from cancers among men who are primary cigar smokers (no history of cigarette or pipe smoking).  Because the 22 studies employed different methods, and because they controlled or adjusted for various factors, the FDA authors did not provide overall summary risk estimates.

From looking at a number of cigar studies it appears that there is a modest increase in risk among cigar smokers for all causes of death.

In other research published by the FDA primary cigar smokers consumed on average about 1 ½ cigars per day when they smoked.  This is relevant to a key epidemiology principle: the level of risk is related to the level of exposure.  Several studies in the Chang review reported results for smoking one or two cigars per day. 

The data indicates that consumption of up to two cigars per day, while not completely safe, is neither associated with significantly increased risks for death from all causes, nor smoking-related cancers.

Report’s author: 

Dr. Brad Rodu is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and holds the Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Full report: https://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/dr-brad-rodu

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