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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 one 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 seven inches in length, and they typically contain between five and 20 grams of tobacco.  Some premium cigars contain the tobacco equivalent of an entire pack of cigarettes. Large cigars can take between one and two hours to smoke.
  • Cigarillos are a type of smaller cigar. They are a little bigger than little cigars and cigarettes and contain about three grams of tobacco.
  • Little cigars are the same size and shape as cigarettes (20 little cigars in a package) and contain about one 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.

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