We all know the feeling. You sit down to a delicious steak for dinner, and there is always that nagging question about the harm to health. You pour your favorite scotch for a nightcap, and inevitably thoughts about alcoholism or liver problems are entertained for a second. Lighting up a treasured, after-dinner cigar may cause the same pondering. Dessert is full of sugar, popcorn at the movies has too much fat and salt. These days, it seems like everything you may enjoy is bad for you.
Then again, maybe this isn't something we all feel. Maybe it's just me, and the rest of the world can enjoy their vices in peace. Just in case that is not the reality, here are my thoughts about whether smoking cigars is actually dangerous for your health. I should mention that I am not a doctor, and this is not to be taken as medical advice.
Personal Benefits Of Cigars:
Again, I am not a doctor, and I don't pretend to have a Ph.D. with vast decades of experience in health research. However, I can tell you this: stress is one of the most dangerous elements in life because it can make every other disease worse. While stress itself is a natural response, the effects of long-term stress can be deadly. Prolonged stress can cause heart damage and negatively impact arteries. It can lead to problems like insomnia, mental illness, and ulcers.
One of the best ways to deal with stress is finding hobbies or situations that can help with relaxation. Now I ask you this, when was the last time you saw someone running to and fro with a stogie in hand? It happens of course, but if most people smoke cigars as I do, it requires a pause.
The initial act of lighting a cigar often requires you to stop and become intentional. Most people choose to sit or at least lean back and relax during the act. Their breathing becomes calmer and their posture less rigid. I don't know about others, but smoking cigars helps me to feel less stressed.
How Bad Is Bad?
As for whether cigars are bad for you, I think the real key is how bad. No doctor would prescribe vitamins, exercise, fruits, and cigars. We know that cigars are not good for you like carrots or kale. But, how bad are they really?
A few years ago, FDA staff (people who do have decades of experience in health research) conducted a review of 22 studies on cigars and health outcomes. They found minimal risk associated with smoking up to two cigars a day. Yes, there is an elevated risk of cancer in areas that directly encounter smoke, such as the esophagus, mouth, and throat. However, like most things, the level of risk is often related to the level of exposure. People smoking one or two cigars a day did not have a statistically significant risk of death.
The bottom line is this: moderation. If you eat a dozen pies a day, you will probably have health problems. In that same way, chain-smoking ten cigars a day is not recommended. However, taking a moment or two a day to relax with a good cigar is just fine.