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Cigar vs. Cigarette: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 12, 2023
Cigars are typically made from fermented, air-cured tobacco and are often larger, while cigarettes are generally made from a blend of tobaccos and wrapped in paper.

Key Differences

Cigars usually encapsulate tobacco that has undergone a meticulous fermentation process. This processing imparts a richer, deeper flavor to cigars, which is often characterized by earthy, woody notes that are distinctly different from cigarettes. Cigarettes, in contrast, contain a blend of different tobaccos, providing a lighter, often smoother taste that may be considered milder when compared to the potent flavor profile of a cigar.
The physical characteristics of cigars and cigarettes diverge noticeably. Cigars often embody a more substantial, robust form, with some variations showcasing quite a significant size and girth. Cigarettes, in comparison, possess a more streamlined, slender appearance, consistently maintaining a modest diameter and length, making them generally smaller and lighter than cigars.
Another distinction between cigars and cigarettes pertains to their exterior wrapping. Cigars are traditionally enveloped in tobacco leaves, contributing to their bold tobacco flavor and characteristic appearance. Conversely, cigarettes are wrapped in paper, which does not imbue additional tobacco flavor into the smoke, thereby maintaining the inherent flavors of the tobacco blend inside.
The manner in which cigars and cigarettes are consumed also differs notably. A cigar is often associated with a leisurely experience, where the smoker might not inhale the smoke, instead savoring the rich flavors in the mouth. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are commonly inhaled, delivering nicotine to the system more rapidly, and are typically consumed more quickly than a cigar.
The cultural and social perceptions attached to cigars and cigarettes also present a vivid dichotomy. Cigars have often been linked to affluence and luxury, symbolizing status and a certain opulence in various societies. Cigarettes may not carry the same affluent implication, and have been historically more accessible and common among a broader demographic, presenting a more casual and widely embraced smoking option.

Comparison Chart


Made from fermented, air-cured tobacco.
Made from a blend of different tobaccos.

Size & Shape

Typically larger and can be robust in size.
Generally smaller and more slender.


Wrapped in a tobacco leaf.
Wrapped in paper.


Often not inhaled, savored for flavor.
Commonly inhaled, for quicker nicotine delivery.

Cultural Perception

Associated with luxury and affluence.
More common and casually consumed.

Cigar and Cigarette Definitions


A cigar typically emanates a rich, robust flavor, attributed to fermented tobacco.
The cigar released a complex array of flavors, intertwining earthy and sweet notes.


Cigarettes are commonly uniform in size and shape, being mass-produced.
The cigarette pack, neatly arranged, contained twenty identical sticks.


Cigars can vary significantly in size, from small cigarillos to substantial Churchill sizes.
He chose a medium-sized cigar, which offered a balanced smoking duration.


Cigarettes often include a "filter" section designed to absorb some smoke and nicotine content and collect some of the tar and other toxins.
He always chose cigarettes with filters, believing them to be a slightly healthier option.


Cigars often serve as a symbol of status and luxury in various cultures.
In many movies, a lit cigar is often used to portray a character as affluent and powerful.


Cigarettes are typically less expensive than cigars and are widely accessible.
She bought a pack of cigarettes from the vending machine in the lobby.


Cigars are often associated with celebratory occasions or ceremonies.
After the birth of his son, he distributed cigars to his friends as a traditional gesture of celebration.


The cigarette is frequently associated with quick smoking sessions.
He enjoyed a quick cigarette before heading back into the office.


A cigar is a roll of tobacco wrapped in a leaf, intended for smoking.
He leisurely puffed on a cigar while reading the newspaper.


A cigarette is a slender roll of finely cut tobacco for smoking, enclosed in a paper.
She stepped outside to smoke a cigarette during the break.


A compact roll of tobacco leaves prepared for smoking.


A small roll of finely cut tobacco for smoking, enclosed in a wrapper of thin paper.


A cylinder of tobacco rolled and wrapped with an outer covering of tobacco leaves, intended to be smoked.


A similar roll of another substance, such as a tobacco substitute or marijuana.


(slang) The penis. en


Tobacco or other substances, in a thin roll wrapped with paper, intended to be smoked.


A small roll of tobacco, used for smoking.


To give someone a cigarette, and/or to light one for them.
Could someone cigarette me?


A roll of tobacco for smoking


A little cigar; a little fine tobacco rolled in paper for smoking.


Finely ground tobacco wrapped in paper; for smoking


Do cigars and cigarettes taste different?

Yes, cigars usually have a more robust, complex flavor, while cigarettes tend to have a lighter, smoother taste.

What is the primary difference between a cigar and a cigarette?

Cigars are usually made from fermented tobacco and are often larger, while cigarettes contain a blend of tobaccos and are wrapped in paper, generally being smaller and filtered.

Why do cigars and cigarettes have different wrappers?

Cigars are wrapped in tobacco leaves, enhancing their flavor, while cigarettes use a paper wrapper, maintaining the tobacco blend's flavor.

Do cigars and cigarettes have different nicotine levels?

Yes, cigars often contain more nicotine than cigarettes, but the absorption rate can differ based on inhalation practices.

Are cigars and cigarettes smoked in the same social contexts?

Cigars are often associated with celebrations and leisure, while cigarettes might be consumed more casually and habitually.

Can you inhale cigar smoke like you would with a cigarette?

While it's possible, cigars are generally not inhaled but rather puffed on to savor the flavors.

Is there a cost difference between cigars and cigarettes?

Typically, cigars can be more expensive than cigarettes, especially premium brands.

How is the tobacco in cigars and cigarettes cured differently?

Cigar tobacco is usually air-cured and fermented, while cigarette tobacco can be sun-cured, air-cured, or flue-cured without fermentation.

How should cigars be stored?

Cigars should be stored in a humidified environment, such as a humidor, to maintain their quality and flavor.

Are cigarette and cigar smokers at equal risk for addiction?

Both carry a risk, but cigarette smokers might experience higher addiction rates due to inhaling nicotine directly into the lungs.

Can cigars be flavored like some cigarettes?

Yes, both cigars and cigarettes can come in various flavors.

How are cigars categorized?

Cigars are often categorized by their size, shape, strength, and country of origin.

How does the tobacco production process differ between cigars and cigarettes?

Cigar tobacco undergoes fermentation, while cigarette tobacco does not, and they are cured using different methods.

Which lasts longer when smoked, a cigar or a cigarette?

Cigars typically last longer than cigarettes due to their size and smoking style.

Are cigarettes more popular than cigars worldwide?

Yes, cigarettes are generally more popular and widely used than cigars around the world.

Is secondhand smoke from cigars and cigarettes dangerous?

Yes, secondhand smoke from both is harmful and poses health risks to non-smokers.

Are there specific etiquettes to follow while smoking cigars?

Yes, there are certain etiquettes, such as not inhaling deeply, taking your time, and sometimes removing the band, that are associated with cigar smoking.

What is a cigarette filter made of?

Cigarette filters are typically made from cellulose acetate and are designed to absorb some toxins from the smoke.

What are the health risks associated with cigars and cigarettes?

Both carry significant health risks, including an increased risk of various cancers, heart disease, and respiratory issues.

Why do some people clip cigars before smoking?

Clipping cigars create an optimal opening for smooth airflow and enhances the smoking experience.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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