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Review
, 46 (1), 34-53

Non-cigarette Tobacco and the Lung

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Review

Non-cigarette Tobacco and the Lung

Michael Schivo et al. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol.

Abstract

Cigarette smoking is known to cause a wide range of damaging health outcomes; however, the effects of non-cigarette tobacco products are either unknown or perceived as less harmful than cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, cigar smoking, and waterpipe smoking have increased in usage over the past few decades. Some experts believe that their use is reaching epidemic proportions. Factors such as a perception of harm reduction, targeted advertising, and unrecognized addiction may drive the increased consumption of non-cigarette tobacco products. In particular, the need for social acceptance, enjoyment of communal smoking activities, and exotic nature of waterpipe smoking fuels, in part, its popularity. The public is looking for "safer" alternatives to smoking cigarettes, and some groups advertise products such as smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes as the alternatives they seek. Though it is clear that cigar and waterpipe tobacco smoking are probably as dangerous to health as cigarette smoking, there is an opinion among users that the health risks are less compared to cigarette smoking. This is particularly true in younger age groups. In the cases of smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes, the risks to health are less clear and there may be evidence of a harm reduction compared to cigarettes. In this article, we discuss commonly used forms of non-cigarette tobacco products, their impacts on lung health, and relevant controversies surrounding their use.

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