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Compare Smoking Cigarettes vs Cigars.

Posted on by Mark Chen

When it comes to cigar and cigarette smoking, the  common  opinion is that  cigarettes are easily linked  to addiction and health defects of smoking, while Cigars on the other hand  relates to classy pop culture trends that have been existing for time immemorial; one which is   common amongst the influential. 

Well, recent findings have proven this theory null.

You'd be amazed to find out several features that establish a fine line between cigar and cigarettes, and these goes beyond the class of people in use of them. 

Before we dissect the differences between the two, we will like to give a definition of the two to help you fully understand what they are.

What is Cigar?

Cigar is a cylindrical roll of dried- fermented tobacco leaves wrapped in tobacco leaves, made to be smoke. They are produced in a variety of sizes. For example, the three major types of cigars sold in the United States are large cigars, cigarillos, and little cigars. The little cigars are the same size as cigarettes; Cigarillos are a bit bigger, then the Large cigars which are about 9inches long.

What is a cigarette?

Cigarette is a slender tube-shaped roll of nicotine and other burnable, wrapped in a paper for smoking.

The two types commonly sold are commercially wrapped and the wrap-your-own package.

Differences between a Cigar and a Cigarette.

  1. The Wrap.

The wrappings are the first difference to notice on a close inspection of the two. 

Cigars are wrapped in tobacco leaves or a material containing tobacco.

Cigarettes on the other hand are enclosed in a paper thin wrap.

For cigars, the wrappings are as essential as the content, if not more.  The wrapper is the most expensive part of a cigar because it must look perfect, because it is the first feature that meets the eye; usually a rich blend of dark brown color, also, users fancy holding on to cigars for long, as opposed to one way smoking up of cigarettes.

Cigar wrappings are responsible for sixty to eighty percent of the flavor perceived.

For cigarette wrappings, manufacturers try to insinuate cigarette toxicity in the wrappings; colors like blue, gold, and silver are typically reserved for the supposedly milder products, while red is used for traditional cigarettes and the color green for menthol cigarettes. 

  1. Constituent matter.

We all agree that the unifying content in Cigar and cigarettes is tobacco. The difference however, is the degree of tobacco in each of them.

Cigars are notably bigger than cigarettes; one cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes. 

Cigars typically contain between 100mg to 200 mg of nicotine each while cigarettes contain approximately 10mg of nicotine each. That is, smoking 1 cigar is equivalent to smoking 10-20 cigarettes. This is the major factor used to determine the health risk of each of them.

Apart from tobacco, cigarettes contains other constituent like Acetone, carbon monoxide,

Acetic acid, Tar, Ammonia, formaldehyde,

Arsenic, Nicotine, methanol, Benzene and

Butane, all of which harmful chemicals.


  1. Presence of Filters

Filters are components in cigarettes intended to reduce the harmful element effect on smokers and passive smokers.

Ideally, Cigars have no filters. Premium Cigar users would suggest that filters oppose the core of authenticity that cigars should possess. So any cigar with a filter is considered crappy by premium users, could be regarded as cigarettes.

Despite common conception, research has shown that cigarettes filters do not offer any health benefits and filtered cigarettes are not less harmful than unfiltered cigarettes, for smokers.  Filters are essentially a marketing ploy, to give smokers a sense of safety.

  1. 4. Method of Usage.

Cigarettes are easy to smoke. It's just simple to use as seen amongst smokers. 

 First they are held with the lips while a flame is brought near the end. A single puff is usually enough to fully light a cigarette. 

Next, the smoke is inhaled. This takes nicotine to the lungs from where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

With Cigars, it is a different case. Cigar smoking is complicated when compared with that of cigarettes.

Before a cigar is smoked, it must be cut. There is a specific cutter for cigars. Insert the head of the cigar into a cigar cutter and cut into it, around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch from the end. When lighting the cigar, grip it around the band with thumb, index finger, and middle finger and place into your mouth. 

Next, you hold the end of the cigar just above the lighter flame. Begin puffing on the cigar and slowly rotate the cigar, without allowing it to touch the flame. Rotate it for 10 to 20 seconds until the outer rim begins to glow. Continue to puff and rotate every 30 to 60 seconds.

The great difference is that when smoking a cigar, you do not inhale the smoke. Bust when smoking a cigarette, you inhale the smoke. All you need do is to savor the taste of cigar smoke only in your mouth and not take it into your lungs. 

Now here comes the burning question, "how come Cigars are considered harmful if the smoke is not actually inhaled?" we will discover this in the health detriments.

Health Detriments.

In spite of the misconceptions about cigars being less detrimental to health, studies however have proven that both form of tobacco is very detrimental to health. 

In fact, Cigars are variably more detrimental to health especially for consistent users. This is because cigar exposes you to 10-20times more of nicotine than cigarettes.

A full size Cigar can contain as much nicotine as a full pack.

This doesn't discovery however, doesn't eases out the risk factors of cigarettes. Which can be more complicated owing to the fact that smokes in cigarettes  are typically inhaled.

Since cigars are not ideally inhaled, but savored in the mouth, it is reasonable to say that Cigars  are likely to cause oral cancer, including, mouth and tooth diseases.  and also  This includes cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and larynx, and cigarettes are more likely to cause lung cancer, since they are the ones that are actually inhaled.

But then, the health detriments of regular cigar usage goes beyond that, as they have been seen to be linked to other diseases like  Cancer of associates organs in the mouth like the larynx, oesophagus, and throat. 

It is also increases the risk of lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. By causing airway damage that leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

It can also increase the risk of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease. 

And yes. all these health adversities are attainable with cigar smoking, which requires no inhaling of smoke puffs. This is because the smoke in the mouth can easily diffuse through the highly vascularized mouth tissues, into the bloodstream and carried  to other organs.

Also, it is possible for these smokes to escape into the throat in detrimental quantity especially with regular usage.


Erectile dysfunction. This is an unpopular health detriment of smoking; Studies have shown that smokers are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as nonsmokers. This is why people with existing erectile problems are highly advised to stay clear off cigars and cigarettes especially when they are receiving treatment because cigars and cigarettes have the capacity to slow down the effect of their treatment.


Effects on Passive Smokers

Cigars and Cigarettes aren't just dangerous to the people who smoke them. They also give off secondhand smoke filled with toxic chemicals like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.

Cigars however, possess more risks in this case, because a cigar wrapper (which is made from a tobacco leaf) is less porous than a cigarette wrapper, it doesn't burn as thoroughly as a cigarette wrapper. This increases the concentration of cancer-causing substances like ammonia, tar, and carbon in the secondhand smoke.