Cigar Association of America, Inc.

The national trade organization of cigar manufacturers, importers and distributors as well as major suppliers to the industry.
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Confusion over little cigars


Why is there any confusion about the difference between little cigars and cigarettes?


There’s a big difference between little cigars and cigarettes. But as the Cigar Association of America (CAA) has found in our work across the country on legislative and regulatory advocacy for cigar businesses and consumers, the differences are obvious to everyone but some in the anti-cigar community, working to create confusion among state legislators by falsely claiming the two products are identical.

Little cigars have been sold in the U.S. for more than a century and in fact have been taxed by the federal government almost as long. Like cigarettes, little cigars must comply with federal statutory requirements to weigh no more than 3 pounds per thousand, but there the resemblance ends.

Little cigars and cigarettes consist of different tobacco and wrappers.  Little cigars consist of air-cured or fermented tobaccos with a stronger taste and lower sugar content. They are primarily alkaline and are either wrapped in natural leaf, or a wrapper consisting of at least 2/3 tobacco by weight, as required by the federal government. Cigarettes on the other hand consist primarily of flue-cured tobaccos, are primarily acidic, have a higher sugar content and are wrapped in paper.

While many little and larger cigars contain filters (a practice begun nearly 40 years ago), if little cigars were actually a substitute for cigarettes as some cigar opponents claim, the market share for little cigars would be much higher than it is. But in the U.S., more cigarettes are sold in three days than there are little cigars sold in an entire year. These sales volumes have remained constant for many years as little cigars continue to be a very small part of the overall tobacco market.