FRIDAY, April 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking cigars carries the same risk of death as smoking cigarettes, a new review finds.
"The results reinforce the fact that cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking. Cigar smoking is linked to fatal oral, esophageal, pancreatic, laryngeal and lung cancers, as well as heart disease and aortic aneurysm," lead researcher Cindy Chang, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in a news release from BMC Public Health. The findings were published recently in this journal.
Chang and her colleagues found that people who only smoked cigars and didn't use other tobacco products had an increased risk of death from all causes. The risk of death from oral, esophageal and lung cancers was higher for cigar smokers, whether they inhaled the cigar smoke or not, according to the review.
The review also found that cigar smokers who previously smoked cigarettes had a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than those who had not previously smoked cigarettes.
The current review included 22 North American and European studies that looked at the risk of death associated with cigars and cigarettes. The studies primarily included white men who began cigar smoking in the 1960s, the researchers noted.
Cigar consumption in the United States more than doubled from 6.2 billion in 2000 to 13.7 billion in 2011, according to the researchers. Over that same time period, there was a 33 percent decrease in cigarette consumption.
The growing use of cigars by older children and young adults is particularly troubling, the study authors said. In 2009-2010, about 16 percent of Americans ages 18-24 said they had smoked cigars at least one day in the past 30 days, the researchers reported.
Other recent research found that in 2012, nearly 13 percent of U.S. high school students had smoked cigars or cigarillos (smaller, more narrow cigars) at least one day in the past 30 days.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about cigars.