How Are Cigars Different From Cigarettes?}

How are cigars different from cigarettes?



people smoke them more like cigarettes than cigars, inhaling and smoking every day.

They look like small versions of traditional tapered cigars, but they can be bought in

small packs.


large cigars

may contain more than half an ounce of tobacco as much as a

whole pack of cigarettes. It can take from 1 to 2 hours to smoke a traditional large

cigar. Many what are now called large cigars are carefully made t

o meet the legal definition of a large cigar (which is based on weight, not size), even though theyre actually quite small. This means they can be called large cigars or in some s

tates, other tobacco products, which is good for the tobacco companies (see the next


When looking at size and weight of small cigars and large cigars compared to ciga

rettes, legal definitions get very confusing. Since 2009, small cigars have been defined as thos e that weigh 3 pounds or less per 1,000 cigars. Some of the larger cigarettes can weigh

more than 3 pounds per 1,000. Still, any cigar weighing more than 3 pounds per 1,000 is

taxed as a large cigar, despite being smaller than some cigarettes.

Why so many options?

Cigars that are sold like cigarettes and smoked like cigarettes are anothe

r way the tobacco industry has managed to get around federal laws and taxes. For example, cigars that are small in size but meet the legal definition of large cigars (based on weight) a

re taxed at lower rates than cigarettes and small cigars by state and federal gover

nments. The tobacco industry uses this to their advantage.

Certain combustible tobacco products (those that are burned and smoked) can be sold in

packs like cigarettes and be used like cigarettes, but not legally be consider

ed cigarettes.

This means theyre not subject to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations

related to manufacturing, flavoring, labeling, and marketing. For instance

, these products can be flavored, and can be labeled with misleading descriptors like light or low tar.

They can be marketed and sold with fewer restrictions and much lower taxes tha

n cigarettes. And the candy flavors and low price makes them more appealing and

accessible to young smokers.

While overall data shows that cigarette use has decreased, the use of other combus

tible tobacco products has increased. So, these low-priced and less-regulated products see

m to have led some cigarette smokers to switch to other combustible tobacco products, and

cigarette-like cigars are especially popular.

In fact, since the federal tobacco excise tax was increased in 2009, statisti

cs show that large cigar and pipe tobacco use has increased, while cigarette and little c

igar smoking has decreased. This is the result of a new legal definition of large cigar a

nd offering cigarette smokers and curious kids a lower-priced, less regulated tobacco option

‘ cigars.

Are cigars as addictive as cigarettes?

Cigars contain nicotine, the substance in tobacco that addicts people. Cigar smokers

who inhale absorb nicotine through their lungs as quickly as cigarette smokers. For those w

ho dont inhale, the nicotine absorbs more slowly through the lining of the mouth. Cigar

smoke dissolves more easily in saliva than cigarette smoke. This means cigar sm

okers can get the desired dose of nicotine without inhaling the smoke directly into their l


People who use oral or spit tobacco products absorb nicotine the same way. Nicotine in

any form is highly addictive.

Even though people may smoke cigars for different reasons, the fact is, like cigar

ettes, cigars deliver nicotine. Most full size cigars have as much nicotine as

several cigarettes.

Cigarettes contain an average of about 8 milligrams (mg) of nicotine, but only

deliver about 1 to 2 mg of nicotine to the smoker. Many popular brands of larger cigars contain between 100 and 200 mg, or even as many as 444 mg of nicotine. The amount of nicotine a cigar delivers to a smoker can vary a great deal, even among people smoking

the same type of cigar. How much nicotine is taken in depends on things like:

How long the person smokes the cigar

How many puffs are taken

Whether the smoker inhales

Given these factors and the large range of cigar sizes, its almost impos

sible to make good estimates of the amounts of nicotine larger cigars deliver.

For small cigars, Health Canada estimates that filtered little cigars that are the size and shape of cigarettes contain about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette. If t

hese are smoked like cigarettes (inhaled), they would be expected to deliver a similar am

ount of nicotine, but this has not been fully tested.

Cigar smokers in the past were mainly middle-aged, older men with higher education and income, but most

new cigar

users today are teens and young adults.

Captan Black

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