Cigars Increase Lung
Cancer Risk Fivefold
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Men who smoke cigars increase their risk of lung cancer by five times, researchers said on Tuesday.
The report, by researchers at the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found the risk escalates the more men smoke.
``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, a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society who helped lead the study, said in a statement.
Writing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the researchers said men who reported smoking three or more cigars a day had a 7.8 times higher risk of lung cancer compared to nonsmokers and men who inhale the strong smoke have 11.3 times the risk.
Jacobs' team studied information on more than 137,000 U.S. men who took part in the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-II.
More than 7,800 of them said they smoked at least one cigar daily and had never regularly smoked cigarettes or pipes, while another 7,800 men were categorized as former cigar smokers.
The researchers followed the men for 12 years and found the men who had smoked cigars had markedly higher rates of cancer.
Cigars have become much more popular in the United States in recent years. Sales rose by 50 percent between 1993 and 1998, reversing two decades of decline, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
More than 5.2 billion cigars, from expensive, handcrafted large ones to small ``cigarillos'' were sold in the United States in 1998.
A study published in June in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that regular cigar smokers face a risk double that of nonsmokers for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and lung.
It also found that they suffer a 45 percent higher risk of chronic obstructive lung disease and a 27 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.


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