Cigars and Cigarillos

Cigars are large rolls of tobacco that are wrapped in a tobacco leaf.

Cigarillos are longer, slimmer versions of the typical large cigars. Cigarillos do not usually have a filter, but sometimes have wood or plastic tips.

Little cigars look like cigarettes. They also have a filter like cigarettes. But, instead of being wrapped in white paper, they are wrapped in processed tobacco that looks like brown paper.

Both little cigars and cigarillos come in a variety of flavours that can make them more appealing.

Cigars and cigarillos are not less harmful than cigarettes. Consider the pros and cons below and YOU be the judge.


  • Cigars are sometimes seen as a symbol of luxury and success.2
  • Cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos are often smoked with friends and in many cultures, to celebrate a special occasion.3
  • Some people may choose to smoke cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos because they burn slower, have ‘fun’ flavours that hide the harsh taste of tobacco, or they cost less than cigarettes.3


Cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos…

  • have more cancer-causing substances, tar and other toxins4 because of the way the tobacco is processed (cigar tobacco is cured and fermented). = higher rates of lung cancer, coronary heart disease and lung disease among cigar smokers compared to those who do not smoke cigars.6
  • contain more nicotine (this gets you hooked even after just a few puffs) and higher levels of carbon monoxide, especially in the smoke formed just by lighting one up.5
  • directly expose toxins to smokers’ lips, mouth, tongue, throat, and voice box and these toxins can also be swallowed with saliva, inhaled or not.6
  • cause gums to pull away from teeth leading to tooth loss and other oral diseases.3

Note: It may be cheap and it may be fun, and that’s the industry’s agenda. All just part of the marketing tactic to make it appealing and easy for youth and young adults to try them and to make you think they are less harmful than cigarettes. The industry also keeps the prices low to get you hooked young. The younger you start, the more money they get! #customersforlife. Sneaky.

The verdict is clear. Cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos are not a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Containing nicotine and harmful ingredients, use of these products should be avoided, especially among non-smokers and individuals trying to quit.

Don’t believe us? See what others are saying:



  1. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 2012
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Cigars, Smoking and Tobacco Use. Retrieved September 2, 2016 from
  3. Yates, E. A., Dubray, J., Schwartz, R., Kirst, M., Lacombe-Duncan, A., Suwal, J., & Hatcher, J. (2014). Patterns of cigarillo use among Canadian young adults in two urban settings. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 105 (1): e11-e14.
  4. National Cancer Institute. (2010). Cigar Smoking and Cancer. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from
  5. American Cancer Society. (2014). How Are Cigars Different from Cigarettes? Retrieved April 22, 2015 from
  6. National Cancer Institute. (1998). Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 9: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends. Retrieved July 20, 2015 from http://www.