Although nicotine amounts can vary from product to product, a typical cigar, on average, can contain between 100 to 200 milligrams of nicotine or more.

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, primarily known for its presence in tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco.

Smoking cigars exposes people to a wide range of harmful chemicals, including carcinogens, that experts associate with serious health risks, such as cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems.

This article looks at the nicotine content of cigars, their health effects, and how to stop smoking.

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The amount of nicotine in a cigar can vary significantly, depending on several factors, including the cigar’s size, its type of tobacco, and its manufacturing process.

One study found cigars to contain anywhere between 8.79 to 15.4 milligrams per gram (mg/g) of nicotine.

Although, since cigars range in weight from around 6.6 grams (g) to over 25 g, the amount of nicotine in a cigar is inconsistent.

However, on average, a typical cigar may contain anywhere from 25 to 600 milligrams (mg) of nicotine or more. Depending on their weight, some cigars can contain as much as 444 mg of nicotine.

People do not typically smoke cigars in the same way as people who smoke cigarettes. Cigar smokers, often, do not inhale the smoke deeply into their lungs like cigarette smokers do.

Instead, they may puff on a cigar and let the smoke linger in their mouths, which can result in less nicotine absorption compared to cigarette smoking.

However, even with this difference in smoking behavior, cigars still deliver a substantial amount of nicotine, and the risks associated with cigar smoking, including nicotine addiction and health problems, are real.

Some of the health effects associated with cigar smoking include:

  • Nicotine addiction: Cigars contain nicotine, and smoking them can lead to nicotine addiction, just like with cigarettes. Nicotine addiction can be difficult to overcome and has various health and social consequences.
  • Cancer risk: Cigar smoke contains carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances, and cigar smokers are at an increased risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, and lungs. Even if cigar smokers do not inhale deeply, the smoke can still come in contact with these tissues and increase cancer risk.
  • Heart disease: There is an association between cigar smoking and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. The nicotine and other chemicals in cigars can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis — hardening and narrowing of the arteries — and other heart-related issues.
  • Respiratory problems: Cigar smoking can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. Even though cigar smokers may not inhale deeply, the smoke can irritate the airways and lead to these conditions.
  • Oral health issues: Cigar smoking is harmful to oral health and can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and other dental problems. The risk is particularly high if people smoke cigars regularly over an extended period.
  • Secondhand smoke: Cigar smoke can be harmful to people who are exposed to it, including nonsmokers. Secondhand cigar smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens as firsthand smoke and can pose health risks to those who are around cigar smokers.

Quitting smoking can be a challenging endeavor, but it offers significant health benefits. Some steps and strategies a person can follow to quit smoking include:

  • Set a quit date: Choose a specific date for quitting smoking and mark it on the calendar. This provides a clear goal to work toward.
  • Identify and avoid triggers: Identifying and avoiding situations that trigger the desire to smoke is crucial. This may involve making changes to the daily routine or finding alternative activities to replace smoking.
  • Seek support: Informing friends, family, and co-workers about the plan to quit smoking can establish a support system that provides encouragement and accountability. Joining a support group or seeking professional help from a counselor or a smoking cessation program can also be beneficial.
  • Behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of counseling can equip individuals with strategies to cope with cravings, manage stress, and modify smoking-related behaviors.
  • Keep busy: Engaging in activities that occupy the mind and hands can help distract from cravings and prevent boredom.

Smoking alternatives

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays, can assist in reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate NRT option.

Prescription medications, such as varenicline (Tyrvaya) and bupropion (Zyban), are available to help reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. People should discuss these options with their healthcare professional.

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about cigars and their nicotine content.

Are cigars worse than cigarettes?

While there are differences in how people smoke cigars versus cigarettes, both products carry significant health risks.

It is inaccurate to say that one is definitively worse than the other, as the risks can depend on various factors. The best approach for protecting a person’s health is to avoid all forms of tobacco and nicotine products.

How much nicotine is in a cigarette vs a cigar?

This varies depending on the size and brand of cigar and cigarette a person is comparing. However, some large cigars can contain as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes.

While cigar smoking is not as prevalent as cigarette use, it has been increasing in recent years. This may be due to the availability of different flavors that have been banned in cigarettes.

However, cigars pose all of the same health risks as cigarettes. Therefore, people smoking should stop smoking as soon as possible.