By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most people are aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking but when it comes to pipe and cigar smoke a significant number of people believe it is no issue. They’re wrong.

Pipe and cigar smoking are associated with elevated cotinine levels. Cotinine is the end product of tobacco and it can be detected in the urine. When airflow in pipe and cigar smokers has been measured, those who did not smoke cigarettes, but did smoke pipes or cigars were more likely to have airflow obstruction than those who never smoke.

Clearly, there is no free ride and I think that’s the important point. If you’re thinking of abusing tobacco, you have to be concerned that there is an effect down the road.