Tobacco Free Nebraska for a great state of health

                     Tobacco Free Nebraska

The Other Smoking Tobacco:
Cigars, Cigarillos and Little Cigars

As cigarette smoking has declined in the U.S., the use of loose tobacco and cigars has increased. In fact, from 2000 to 2011, cigarette consumption decreased by 32.8%, while the consumption of loose tobacco and cigars increased 123.1%.1
Some people believe that cigars are less harmful than cigarettes, but in reality they contain the same toxic and cancer-causing compounds found in cigarettes and are not a safe alternative.2  

Health Risks of Smoking Cigars3

  • Regular cigar smoking can cause cancer of the lung, oral cavity (lip, tongue, mouth, and throat), larynx (voice box), and/or esophagus.
  • Heavy cigar smokers and those who inhale deeply may be at increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and can develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Cigar smokers have an increased risk for aortic aneurysm.

The three major types of cigars sold in the U.S. are large cigars, cigarillos and little cigars.

Large cigars typically contain at least 1/2 ounce of aged, fermented tobacco – as much as a pack of cigarettes!
Cigarillos are short (3 – 4 inches) and narrow and typically contain about 3 grams of tobacco. They usually don’t have a filter. 
Little cigars are typically about the same size as a cigarette and usually include a filter.4 
Different Types of Cigars

Many cigars are flavored, can be sold individually (in contrast, cigarettes must be sold in packs), and are packaged in bright, attractive colors – all of which appeal to youth.5

In September 2009, the U.S. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act prohibited flavored cigarettes (except for menthol). However, the Act didn’t prohibit flavoring in other tobacco products.

Cigars can be found in a variety of flavors including peach, mango, sour apple, watermelon, strawberry, coconut, pineapple, wine and grape. Flavors typically mask the natural harshness and taste of tobacco.6


A tobacco industry document from 1998, notes that consumers – especially new cigar smokers – could be attracted to flavored cigars because they’re milder than traditional cigars; the flavor adds smoothness; and the cigar imparts a sweet aroma.7
According to the 2011 Nebraska Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 10% of Nebraska’s youth (grades 9-12) smoke cigars, cigarillos or little cigars … second only to cigarette use at 15%. Of that, males are more likely to smoke cigars at 12.3%, than females at 6.5%.
The 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey notes that among current cigar smokers in Nebraska (18 years of age and older), 59% have smoked flavored cigars. 

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco – United States, 2000-2011, Accessed: November 5, 2012
2CDC, Cigars, Accessed: November 7, 2012
3National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cigars: Health Effects and Trends, Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 9, 1998
4NCI, Cigars Monograph 9, 1998
5Sweet, Cheap and Colorful – No Wonder Some Cigars Are Popular with Kids," Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Accessed: November 13, 2012
6King, Brian A., et al., “Flavored Cigar Smoking Among U.S. Adults: Findings from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2012.
7Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, Bates No: 2071900744/0745, “Flavored Cigars,” Accessed: November 9, 2012


For more information, contact:
Tobacco Free Nebraska
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
Phone: (402) 471-2101
E-mail: TFN Info