How Safe Are Cigars Compared To Cigarettes?

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Cigars and cigarettes do indeed differ, albeit in a nuanced way. It's the tobacco's packaging, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cigars, on the one hand, are encased in a tobacco leaf or other tobacco product, while cigarettes are encased in plain paper.

It's common to envision cigars as being much bigger than cigarettes, but that's not always the case. When compared to cigarettes, little cigars are virtually identical in size and shape.

Cigarettes and cigars contain toxic properties that make them carcinogens (via the CDC). But, do cigars have the same toxins as cigarettes or are they safer?

Are Cigars Better?

The Mayo Clinic notes that switching to cigars from cigarettes does not reduce your risk of experiencing negative health outcomes associated with tobacco use.

Cigar smokers often don't fully inhale the smoke, but nicotine can still be absorbed through the mouth.

Moreover, smoking cigars without inhaling produces smoke that is ultimately inhaled. This smoke contains toxins that contribute to a number of health risks, including cancer.

More Harmful

The National Cancer Institute goes so far as to say that the processing and fermentation techniques used in cigar production make them more harmful.

If you choose a large cigar, you'll inhale toxic chemicals like hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide for a long time.


In the end, a 2015 systematic review by BMC Public Health found no evidence that switching from cigarettes to cigars reduced the risk of developing cancer.

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