It’s safe to say that the cigar has earned a much better reputation health-wise than its slimmer, white companion. Over time, cigars have garnered an allure that leads to a general consensus that they’re markedly healthier than cigarettes.
Despite this assumption, research has shown that cigars are at least as unsafe as cigarettes, and a new study from Penn State shows that some may even be worse.
The idea that cigars are the safer choice cropped up due to the fact that you’re not really supposed to inhale them the way you do cigarettes. Nevertheless, certain cigars (think: small, cheap, artificially flavored) pack significantly more nicotine than a regular cigarette. In fact, so much was found in one particular type that it should be making you nauseous.
The study points out that despite being labeled otherwise, “these products are basically cigarettes,” said John Richie, professor of public health sciences and pharmacology in the Penn State College of Medicine.
To make matters worse, the researchers put the average amount of nicotine per cigar at 3.49, compared to the mere 2.12 found in a regular cigarette.
It must be noted that we’re talking about those flavored, filtered cigars that come in at about the same size as a cigarette (they’re usually incredibly cheap)—not those fat, brown cigars that jump to mind when you think of the term. It’s the clove-flavoring in some brands that keeps people from getting sick from the abundance of nicotine.
As it turns out, tobacco companies have utilized loopholes to push these cigars through tax-free, and they’re essentially tobacco leaf-wrapped cigarettes without the price tag.
The positive connotation linked to cigars is flawed to begin with, and even more so when you associate it with these cheap, small cigars that we now know are more jacked up with nicotine than cigarettes themselves.