Monday, August 19, 2013

The Variations Between Cigars & Cigarettes

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are typically not inhaled.

Cigars and cigarettes use a different kind of tobacco. While cigars consist of a single fermented and air-cured tobacco, cigarettes contain a mix of several tobaccos which are not fermented. Cigars are larger than cigarettes, vary in size and length, and contain from one to 20 grams of tobacco. In the United States, three sizes of cigars are marketed, including little cigars that resemble cigarettes, mid-sized cigarillos and large cigars. All cigarettes are the same size; each one contains one gram of tobacco.


Because cigar tobacco is fermented, it has a greater concentration of nitrosamines, which are one of the major carcinogenic compounds found in tobacco products. Compared to cigarettes, cigars are larger and take longer to smoke. Their smoke therefore releases more nitrosamines, tar, hydrocarbons, ammonia cadmium and carbon monoxide, according to the National Cancer Institute. In contrast to cigarette wrappers, cigar wrapping is nonporous, which leads to incomplete burning of the tobacco and more toxins released in the air. Additionally, a cigar emits more secondhand smoke than a cigarette, posing a greater health risk to nonsmokers who are exposed to it.

Filters and Packaging

In contrast to cigarettes, cigars do not have filters, which lower the intake of nicotine and tar. Health warnings from the Surgeon General are not required on cigar packaging, but mandatory on packages of other tobacco products.

Types of Cancers

Because most cigar smokers do not inhale, their rates of lung disease, lung cancer and heart disease are lower than those of cigarette smokers. In contrast to cigarette smokers, cigar smokers typically develop neck or head cancers. Regardless of whether or not they inhale, cigarette and cigar smokers expose their oral cavity, larynx and throat to the toxins in smoke, according to the National Cancer Institute. Because saliva containing these toxins is swallowed, both types of smokers risk stomach cancer. Similar to cigarettes, the chemicals that have been added to cigar tobacco are not regulated and do not have to be published for public view.


Depending on the size, a cigar can contain as much as 400 milligrams of nicotine. A cigarette contains about a milligram of nicotine. According to, scientists believe that as little as five milligrams of nicotine per day is sufficient to result in addiction. A daily intake of one cigar may be enough to affect brain chemistry. In contrast to cigarette smokers, cigar smokers need to regularly use far less cigars to sustain an addiction.

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