Health Watch -- Pipe Smoking

 Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Santa Claus should re-think that pipe he occasionally smokes. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say pipes are as risky as cigars. They can lead to nicotine addiction and raise cancer risks.

According to the American Cancer Society, pipe smokers have five times the risk of developing lung cancer and four times the risk of throat cancer compared to people who don't use tobacco at all. Pipe smoking also increases risks for a variety of other cancers.

UT Southwestern doctors say pipe smokers also have a greater risk of oral cancer because the mouth tissues absorb nicotine, even if the smoker doesn't inhale. This nicotine absorption not only damages cells, it also allows the smoker to become addicted.

Pipe smoking is somewhat safer than cigarette smoking, but the bottom line is that there is no safe way to use tobacco.


Dec. 2004

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