A cigar is a roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance that contains tobacco and that is not a cigarette. Cigars vary in size—from smaller cigars, such as little filtered cigars or cigarillos, to larger ones, such as large premium cigars.
Cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes--large cigars can deliver as much as 10 times the nicotine, 2 times the tar, and more than 5 times the carbon monoxide of a filtered cigarette.1
There are cigar products available on the market that resemble cigarettes in size and shape but are labeled as “little cigars” or “filtered cigars”. Little filtered cigars as well as cigarillos might contain candy or fruit flavors that appeal to adolescents and young adults.2,3 In addition, young adults may think that cigars are less addictive and present fewer health risks than cigarettes.4,5
On this page, you can find information about:
Nationwide, in 2015:
- 8.6% (an estimated 1.27 million) of high school students and 1.6% (an estimated 180,000) of middle school students reported smoking a cigar within the past 30 days.6
- Among African-American high school students, cigars (12.8%) were the most common tobacco product used.6
Nationwide, in 2014:
- Each day, on average, more than 2,500 youth under 18 years of age smoked their first cigar.7
- Each day, on average, more male youth under age 18 tried a cigar than tried a cigarette.7
- 4.8% of adults reported smoking a cigar within the past 30 days.8
Nationwide, in 2013-2014:
- 73.8% of youth aged 12-17 who used cigars said that they smoked cigars because “they come in flavors I like.”9
- 58.2% of these youth said they smoked cigars “because they are affordable.”9
In 2016, FDA finalized a rule extending our regulatory authority to cover cigars, and all other tobacco products, except accessories of those newly-regulated products. FDA now regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of cigars. This includes components and parts such as rolling papers and filters, but excludes accessories such as lighters and cutters.
If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import cigars, you must comply with these requirements for manufacturers.
CTP's Office of Small Business Assistance can answer specific questions about requirements of small businesses and how to comply with the law. This office also provides online educational resources to help regulated industry understand FDA regulations and policies.
Beginning in 2018, there are six required warning statements that the responsible manufacturer, distributor, importer, or retailer must randomly display and distribut on product packages and rotate quarterly in advertisements, in accordance with an FDA-approved warning plan.
Retailers who sell individual, unpackaged cigars must display a sign of all six warning statements by each cash register as specified in the law.
If you sell cigars, please read this summary of federal rules that retailers must follow.
You may also share the fact sheet below with your staff and post it in your store.
If you sell cigars and package or advertise cigar products, you must comply with additional specific regulations. You can find a list of retailer responsibilities for cigars in Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Our website also offers a summary of regulations, guidance and webinars for retailers.
Tobacco products imported or offered for import into the United States must comply with all the applicable requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). You can find more information on the Importing and Exporting webpage.
You can also learn more about the importation process in the FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9, Import Operations and Actions.
If you have questions about importing a specific tobacco product, please contact the FDA district into which your product will be imported (PDF - 406 KB).
If you have experienced an unexpected health or safety issue with a specific tobacco product, you can report your adverse experience to FDA. Knowledge about adverse experiences can help FDA identify health or safety issues beyond those normally associated with product use.
If you believe these products are being sold to minors, or you see another potential violation of the FD&C Act or FDA’s tobacco regulations, report the potential violation.
1. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Cigars: Health Effects and Trends Tobacco Control Monograph 9. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 1998.
2. Villanti AC, Richardson A, Vallone DM, et al. Flavored tobacco product use among U.S. young adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013; 44(4):388–391.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults. We Can Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free (Consumer Booklet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2012.
4. Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Youth Use of Cigars: Patterns of Use and Perceptions of Risk. 1999.
5. Malone R, Yerger V, Pearson C. Cigar risk perception in focus groups of urban African American youth. Journal of Substance Abuse. 2001; 13(4):549–561.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students - United States, 2011 -2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2016; 65(14): 361-367.
7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality; 2015. Table 4.10A. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs2014/NSDUH-DetTabs2014.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2015.
8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality; 2015. Table 2.36B. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs2014/NSDUH-DetTabs2014.pdf. Accessed October 29, 2015.
9. Ambrose BK, Day HR, Rostron B et al. “Flavored Tobacco Product Use Among U.S. Youth Aged 12‐17 Years, 2013‐2014,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 314(17):1871‐1873, 2015.