The Dangers Of Being Exposed To Cigar Smoke
We have all heard about the dangers of inhaling second hand smoke. Many people wonder if the dangers of inhaling cigar smoke are just as dangerous, or more. Unfortunately, it appears that being exposed to secondhand smoke from a lit cigar can be just as dangerous—or more—than regular cigarette smoke.
All secondhand smoke emitted by tobacco products are classified as environmental tobacco smoke. Environmental tobacco smoke refers to all the secondhand smoke released from tobacco products that are lit, such as cigars or cigarettes. Research indicates that the smoke from cigars and cigarettes releases many of the same types of irritants. Both cigar and cigarette environmental tobacco smoke contain nicotine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia. The environmental tobacco smoke from cigars and cigarettes also releases well-known carcinogens such as vinyl chlorine, benzene, arsenic, hydrocarbons, and nitrosamines. Cigars, because of their size, usually release more environmental tobacco smoke than cigarettes. Being around cigar smoke, then, can pose more of a health threat than inhaling secondhand smoke from a lit cigarette.
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Even though both cigars and cigarettes release similarly toxic environmental tobacco smoke, there are some key differences between the two. These differences are related to the very different ways that cigars and cigarettes are manufactured. The production of cigars consists of a long process of fermentation and aging. During the production and fermentation process, large amounts of carcinogens are produced. Once a cigar has been fermented and aged, they are wrapped in a nonporous wrapper that keeps the cigar from burning too quickly. The fermentation process and nonporous wrapper both contribute to the high concentrations of carcinogens in the smoke of al it cigar. When a cigar is lit, the carcinogenic compounds produced during the fermentation process are released. The nonporous wrapper also contributes to an unclean burn that is high in carcinogens.
Another reason why cigars produce greater amounts of carcinogens is in their girth and length. Cigars are simply bigger than cigarettes. Their size allows them to release much more smoke, and in turn, much higher concentrations of toxins and irritants. Also, cigars are designed to be smoked much more slowly than regular cigarettes, and cigar smokers are encouraged to take their time and enjoy the relaxing experience. This results in longer smoke times, and obviously, the creation of much more smoke. It is advised for all non-smokers to avoid areas where cigars are being smoked. If you smoke cigars, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area.
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Cigar Smoking 101
What are the basics of cigar smoking? How do you light a cigar? How do you draw on the cigar properly? Do you inhale? What are the dos and don’ts of cigar smoking? If you have ever pondered any of these questions, read on. Here is a simple and accessible primer designed to help you gain familiarity with the sometimes confusing, always enigmatic world of cigar smoking.
First Step: Lighting Up
First, all new cigar smokers should learn how to properly light a cigar. Use a clipper designed for cigars to clip off the edge of the head (the section you put to your mouth). If possible light the foot of your cigar with a cedar match. Avoid regular cigarette lighters. They produce a nasty odor that can linger and ruin a good cigar. If you must use a lighter, use butane lighter. These will keep the odor to a minimum. However, you should always strive to use a wooden match because lighters can easily taint the foot of your cigar. How do you light up? Simply strike a match and hold the edge of your cigar over the flame. Avoid touching the cigar to the fire, simply hold the cigar over the flame and draw deeply until the cigar is lit.
Second Step: Burn it down to a nub?
Should you burn your cigar down to a nub? Experts recommend you leave at least two inches to your cigar. Even the finest cigars will tend to get bitter if you let it burn all the way down. What about ashes? Should you knock the ashes off of your cigar? Rather than knocking the ashes off the edge, let the cigar rest in the ashtray when you’re not smoking it. The ashes will fall off naturally.
Third Step: Relax and Enjoy
A cigar should never be rushed. By design, cigars should be savored, preferably after dinner and with a glass of good brandy. Hold the cigar between your thumb and fingers—anything else might be considered bad taste. Also, don’t inhale deeply. The smoke should not reach your lung. This is very bad for your health, and it will not help you taste the cigar any better. Of course, you should always be considerate of those around you. If possible, smoke in the company of other cigar smokers. A good cigar can be enjoyed alone and even more so with friends.
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