The Differences

The Differences

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How do cigars, cigarettes differ?

A cigar is defined as "any roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco," while a cigarette is "any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or any substance not containing tobacco." Unlike most machine-made cigarettes, cigars do not usually have a filter.

Most cigars are made up of a single type of air-cured or dried tobacco. Cigar tobacco leaves are first aged for about a year and then fermented in a process that causes chemical and bacterial reactions. This is what gives cigars a different taste and smell from cigarettes.

Cigars come in many sizes, some as small as a cigarette (called a cigarillo), others much larger.

Cigarillos ("little cigars") are the same size and shape of cigarettes. Many have filters. Other than the fact that they are brown, they look just like cigarettes. Studies suggest that many people treat them like cigarettes -- inhaling and smoking them every day.

Who smokes cigars?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cigar use has increased since the early 1990s. Most of this increase was between 1993 and 1999, when the use of both large cigars and cigarillos climbed by almost 70 percent. An estimated 5.3 billion cigars and cigarillos were consumed in the United States in 2006, a 9 percent increase from 2005.

The production of "little cigars" went from 1.5 billion in 1997 to about 5.1 billion in 2006. These "cigars" are often sold in packs of 20, just like cigarettes.

A 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that looked only at high school students found that 8 percent of girls and 19 percent of boys had smoked a cigar in the past month. After cigarette smoking, cigar smoking is the second most popular form of tobacco used by teens. But in some states, more high school boys smoke cigars than cigarettes. Much of this surge is due to "little cigars."

Are cigars addictive?

If cigar smokers inhale, nicotine is absorbed through the lungs as quickly as it is with cigarettes. For those who do not inhale, the nicotine is absorbed more slowly through the lining of the mouth. Nicotine in any form is highly addictive.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

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