Stuff the Stogies

If you think cigar smoking is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking because you don’t inhale the smoke from a cigar, think again.

A large study published in 1999 in the New England Journal of Medicine found cigar smokers were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than nonsmokers, and twice as likely as nonsmokers to suffer from cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, or lungs.

Cigar smoking causes almost twice as many heart attacks and strokes as it does lung cancer, because nicotine causes arteries to narrow and increases heart rate, whether it’s inhaled or absorbed through the mouth; cigars have 10 to 400 times more nicotine than the average cigarette. Too bad Ulysses S. Grant, Sigmund Freud, and Babe Ruth didn’t know this: All three died from cigar-related diseases.

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