Reducing Risks of Pipe and Cigar
Summary Notes from the lecture of
Henri P. Gaboriau M.D.
1) The highest to lowest
risks from tobacco products are as follows:
Cigarettes Lungs, throat (Erytroplaleia)
Cigars Lip, tongue
– snuff, chew
etc. Gum line (Leukoplakia)
2) Lung cancer risk index
1.0 (base number)
Cigarette – 20 grams /
day 16.0 (i.e. 16 x the risk of non-
Cigar – 20 grams /
Pipe – if > 10 bowls per
Pipe – if 5 bowls per
Pipe – if 3 bowls per
Pipe – if 2 bowls per
typical - 2 bowls every 2-3
~1.05 (almost same as non-smoker)
(*Source Webline – reviewed 22 articles. 21,520
smokers studied between 1969 – 93)
3) Bladder cancer risk
index (although more rare in smokers than is lung and throat cancer)
4) Do Pipe and Cigar
Most Cigar and Pipe smokers do not inhale - unless
they were former cigarette smokers. To test the theory, a study* was conducted with an endoscope camera down
the nose and throat to observe breathing patterns in smokers. Here were the
Former cigarette smokers inhaled
pipes like cigarettes
Cigar and pipe smokers –
breathed normally first, then inhaled into mouth only, smoke was mostly blocked
from throat by tongue, then exhaled the smoke w/o going into the lungs.
You can test this on yourself.
Take a toke on a pipe or cigar as you normally would. Now breathe in and out
through your nose two or three times. Do you see smoke when you in exhale? If
yes, you are inhaling. If no, now exhale the smoke from your mouth. Did smoke
come out of your mouth? If yes, you are not inhaling and are tremendously
decreasing your risk of lung cancer.
*"Pattern of inhalation of Tobacco Smoke in Pipe, Cigarette and Never Smokers” AM Rev Respir Dis 1985
5) Reducing the risk of tongue burn and/or
tongue and mouth cancer.
A burn or scar from hot smoke is
what you are trying to avoid. This can lead to cancer.
Don’t leave the pipe clenched
in your teeth in one position touching your tongue for a long time. Move the
pipe around your mouth as you smoke.
Sip your pipe like a fine wine,
don’t draw heavily.
Find a cool burning tobacco that
you enjoy. Aromatic tobaccos tend to burn hotter than do English.
Always drink while you smoke. This
helps cool the mouth, quench the thirst from dry smoke, coat the mouth from hot
smoke, and wash away any hot debris. Water, sodas, coffee, tea are fine.
Don’t drink anything very hot though.
However, sorry everyone, do not
drink alcohol while you smoke. The combination of alcohol and smoke is not just
a linear risk, but exponential. This is a huge mistake most smokers make. The
alcohol destroys the flora and protective lining of mucus in the mouth. Then
the hot smoke will directly come in contact with the unprotected mouth lining.
Drink alcohol only after you smoke.
Smoking depletes the body of
vitamins A and C. Take up to 3000 mg of VC a day. Also take selenium and other
antioxidants that will help buffer your body from free radicals, cancer and
least once a year, tell your physician you are a pipe smoker and would like to
have your mouth and tongue examined. Schedule your teeth exams ~ 6 months after
your physician’s and have your dentist give another exam. You now have two
exams a year, by two different medical specialists.
7) Life expectancy for Pipe
Okay, sit down for this…. A US Surgeon General report “Smoking and Health” (No. 1103, page 112) noted,
“Death rates for current pipe smokers were little if at all higher than for non-smokers, even with men smoking 10 pipefuls
per day and with men who had smoked pipes for more than 30 years.” On page
92 the report also stated, “Pipe smokers who inhale live as long as
nonsmokers and pipe smokers that don’t inhale live longer than
What? Life expectancy for pipe smokers is three
years longer than… Non-Smokers! Just try to use that argument
with an anti-smoking activist! Of course this is not to encourage people to
smoke, but has more to do with the personality of a typical pipe smoker. Most
are type “B” where most cigarette smokers are type “A”. So
a pipe smoker, on average, is a more laid back person. Second, smoking a pipe
is very relaxing. You just can’t be angry when you are smoking a pipe.
Cigars are also relaxing but it seems, not as much as
pipes. Most cigarette smoking is not so much a relaxing experience as it is a
need for nicotine.
8) Other interesting facts
and some to keep in mind:
Pipe smoking is the lowest tobacco
risk - but the risk is not zero.
Pipe smoking risk is much like a
second hand smoke risk
Pipe tobacco has less nicotine per
gram than cigarettes and contains very little of the additives.
Wet smoking is the worst risk so
be sure and clean pipe thoroughly.
If you have any sores in your
mouth or a sore throat, wait to let the mouth heal first.
The main risks from cigars is
chewing the cigar and the direct contact with the lips.
27% of all smokers are pipe
smokers in Sweden. In US only 2%
I hope you follow the tips above. If you do, you should significantly lower
your health risks from pipe and cigar smoking. Wishing you a wonderfully
aromatic, relaxing and healthy enjoyment of your favorite pipe and cigar for a
Disclaimer: Note that the information provided in
this lecture summary report are the opinions of Dr. Gaboriau. The Seattle Pipe
Club has documented the lecture for informational purposes only and claims no
responsibility for the accuracy of its content.