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While many may not understand the difference between a cigar and a cigarette, there are a number of them and they are substantial. While size is the first thing many people think of, that is only part of the explanation. No matter what your personal view is of cigars and cigarettes, it is important to remember the health consequences of smoking can be very severe with both products.
Officially, a cigar is defined as a tobacco product that is wrapped in a leaf tobacco or other product containing tobacco. A cigarette is a product that that is wrapped in paper, or at least a material that does not contain any tobacco in the wrapping. While this may seem like a small difference, it does indicate that size is not nearly as important as substance when it comes to the difference between the two.
While the wrapping may not make a great difference in the amount of tobacco in a cigar, most do have a substantial amount of tobacco. That is a big difference between a cigar and a cigarette. Many cigars have as much tobacco, or nearly as much, as an entire pack of cigarettes. Thus, the addictive properties and negative health effects are amplified with cigars in most cases.
Another difference is the way the two products are made. The tobacco in cigars is aged for approximately a year and then fermented through a process that takes another several months. This helps give the cigar a unique smell and flavor, especially when compared to cigarettes.
Also, most cigars do not have filters, another difference between a cigar and a cigarette. This makes cigars especially dangerous, simply because there are fewer safeguards filtering some of the harmful chemicals from entering the body. While filters by no means make smoking safe, they do help somewhat.
Some smaller cigars, referred to as cigarillos, do have filters. These smaller cigars are not as common as the larger models. Therefore, the vast majority of cigars smoked come without any form of filter.
As with cigarettes, the dangers of secondhand smoke with a cigar are just as prevalent. While many may find the smoke a little more pleasing to the senses than cigarette smoke, it can be just as dangerous. Dangers of second-hand smoke include spurring an asthma attack and even lung cancer, with long-term exposure.