Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can I get a disease from smoking a cigarette that someone with poor hygene touched?"

ZocdocAnswersCan I get a disease from smoking a cigarette that someone with poor hygene touched?


I bummed a cigarette from a person that had poor hygiene and visibly filthy hands. Can I contract an infectious disease from this?


Most infections such as the common cold and other viral infections occur because of contact with dirty hands. This is why doctors and other health care professionals wash their hands very often as to not pass on any infections to other people. Since you put something in your mouth that someone else touched, there is always the possibility that you will catch something lurking on their hands. With that said, your body has many defenses against these types of infections. This is why most of the time that we are exposed to bacteria and viruses that could cause infection, we don't end up getting sick. My bigger concern is that you are smoking. Smoking is the more dangerous long term than being exposed to an infection on someone's hands. You should talk to your doctor about methods of quitting so that you can reduce your changes of developing lung cancer and emphysema. These are very common diseases I see every day from people that smoked long term. The best type of physician for you to see about this problem is your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss methods to kick the smoking habit and methods of good hand hygiene.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.