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Tobacco Prevention Coalition
Health Department



Most cigars are composed primarily of a single type of tobacco (air-cured and fermented tobacco), and they have a tobacco wrapper. They can contain between 1 gram and 20 grams of tobacco. Cigars vary in size and shape. Three sizes are sold in the United States: 

  • Large cigars can measure more than 7 inches in length, and they typically contain between 5 and 20 grams of tobacco. Some premium cigars contain the tobacco equivalent of an entire pack of cigarettes. Large cigars can take between 1 and 2 hours to smoke.
  • Cigarillos are a type of smaller cigar. They are a little bigger than little cigars and cigarettes and contain about 3 grams of tobacco.
  • Little cigars are the same size and shape as cigarettes (20 little cigars in a package) and contain about 1 gram of tobacco. Also, unlike large cigars, some little cigars have a filter, which makes it seem they are designed to be smoked like cigarettes.


Are there harmful chemicals in cigar smoke?

Yes. Cigar smoke, like cigarette smoke, contains toxic and cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers. Cigar smoke is possibly more toxic than cigarette smoke. Cigar smoke has:

A higher level of cancer-causing substances: During the fermentation process for cigar tobacco, high concentrations of cancer-causing nitrosamines are produced.

More tar: For every gram of tobacco smoked, there is more cancer-causing tar in cigars than in cigarettes.

A higher level of toxins: Cigar wrappers are less porous than cigarette wrappers. As a result, compared with cigarette smoke, the concentrations of toxins are higher in cigar smoke.