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Is it harmful to smoke half a cigar a day?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2190 Questions
Hi there doc, Im looking to find out if i should be terribly worried. I smoke these things called popper chops which is weed and cigar smoked out of a bong. I do get pretty big dense clouds of smoke, however I only smoke about a half a cigar a day because i only smoke about 6 hoots a day. My question is: Is what I do here worse than the average smoker who smokes a pack a day? Not quiting just looking for some advice.

Posted Wed, 14 Nov 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 3 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

It is very difficult to say which one is better because each one has a different adverse effect profile. Smoking out of a bong has been found to reduce certain toxins associated with smoking cigarettes, since the water can trap some heavier particles and water-soluble molecules, preventing them from entering the smoker's airways. Some studies have shown that inhaling this "filtered smoke" may slightly reduce the risk of smoking-associated diseases like carcinoma. However, smoking cannabis has its own profile of adverse effects, predominantly on the neurological system, with problems like memory and learning disturbances, impairment of attention and concentration, anxiety and psychotic disorders, etc.

So, what you are doing currently may be "less harmful" to the lungs (in terms of reduced smoke-induced toxic effects) than an average smoker smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, but you are still putting yourself under significant health risks.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is it harmful to smoke half a cigar a day? 24 hours later
Awesome thanks alot. Since I have a follow up I may as well ask. Some of my friends couph up little black specks, Im asuming thats because our lungs are probably black? also are cigars bad to inhale out of a bong because of the thicker smoke? or does the water still filtrate the smoke?
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 23 hours later
Hello again and thanks for writing in.

Coughing up sputum or phlegm with black specks is definitely not a normal phenomenon and it's not because our lungs are black. Normal healthy lungs have a pinkish colour, are spongy and elastic. But a smoker's lungs are blackish, mottled and are less elastic. The blackish specks which your friends are coughing out may be carbon or smoke particles, which could have got deposited in the air passages.

The only way smoking out of a bong helps is that instead of direct combustion producing harmful smoke, the substance is vaporized through water, thereby avoiding the reducing the harmful toxins produced in the smoke. Now, remember, cigars contain several other chemicals than just nicotine (which is the active chemical responsible for the psychological effects), like tar and other toxins. In fact, cigars have a higher tar content than cigarettes. So, even if smoked out of a bong, these chemicals will still get released and enter the lungs. Moreover, since these chemicals in cigars are heavier and less soluble, it doesn't get dissolved in the water, and that is why thick smoke is produced. Also, when smoking out of a bong, a person tends to inhale more amounts of smoke in one puff than from smoking a cigar directly. These are the reasons why smoking cigars out of a bong may not provide any added benefits.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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