Pipe smokers have a higher incidence of oral cancer, throat cancer, lip cancer, and esophageal cancer than people who smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smokers have a higher rate of lung, gastric, and colon cancer than do pipe smokers.
Neither is good for you. Pipe smokers make the argument that they do not inhale. Nevertheless, tobacco smoke is a known carcinogen whether smoked in a pipe, cigar, or cigarette.
All forms of smoking are associated with bad affects from second hand smoke. These health hazards are evident regardless of the source of the smoke. In children, second hand smoke stunts growth and causes respiratory problems.
Some studies have suggested that people who smoke a pipe are more likely to develop cancer of the mouth and throat than people who smoke cigarettes, and that stands to reason, but the science on this is as yet inconclusive.
From a straight addiction/human behavior standpoint, people who smoke a pipe tend to do so at certain times of the day, primarily at home after work, while those who smoke cigarettes tend to do so during their entire waking hours. In that sense, smoking a cigarette is worse because the addiction will likely lead you to smoke much more overall than a pipe.
This is a very controversial issue. Both pipe smoking and cigarette smoking are unhealthy, but there are differences between the two.
The main difference between the two is that people who smoke pipes generally do not inhale the smoke into the lungs. Instead, they "taste" the smoke in their mouths, but do not actually breathe it in. This is different from cigarette smoking where the smoke is inhaled deep into the lungs.
The problem with both pipe smokers and cigarette smokers is that they are both linked to numerous health hazards although pipe tobacco does contain fewer additives. Perhaps it is the lesser of the two evils.
The arguments that say pipe tobacco isn't as bad as cigarettes include:
- you don't inhale pipe smoke as much as cigarettes, you merely "puff" a pipe like you do a cigar.
- "puffing" a pipe for the taste of the tobacco is far less addictive than "smoking" a cigarette for the nicotine
- no filter therefore less nicotine and tar
The fact is, cigar- cigarette- and pipe- smoke are all known to cause heart disease and cancer... even second-hand. I think certainly an argument can be made that if you must smoke, smoking a pipe is "healthier" than smoking cigarettes (this is compartitive to saying it is 'healthier' to drink red wine over hard liquor or beer). I also know several people who only smoke "American Spirits" or roll their own cigarettes because they are filterless and therefore more natural.
As you might imagine, pipe smoking simply can’t be without health risks because it involves smoking tobacco. It’s basically the same tobacco that’s put in your cigarettes, so it carries the same risks to your health.
The differences between cigarette and pipe tobacco are few and far between. Just like cigarettes, pipes have loads of chemicals added to them. These chemicals do everything from improve the taste to ensure that the tobacco stays well lit.
As you can see, pipe smoking by itself is not safe, and it’s definitely not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Quitting will involve hard work, and the roles of nicotine addiction, habit, and psychological addiction need to be addressed.