In 2011, 13.7 billion cigars were consumed in the United States, a 55 percent increase from the 6.2 billion consumed in 2000.1 Regular cigar smoking caused about 9,000 deaths in 2010, accounting for $23 billion in economic costs.2

Key Facts about Cigar Use:

  • Cancer of the lung, oral cavity, larynx and esophagus have been shown to be caused by regular cigar smoking. Those who smoke cigars heavily or inhale deeply also increase their risk of developing COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic bronchitis or emphysema).3
  • Cigars contain the same addictive, toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes and are not a safe alternative. In fact, a single large cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.4
  • Cigars are defined as tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any product containing tobacco. Cigarettes are defined as being wrapped in paper.4 This difference leads to state taxes on cigars often being significantly less than taxes on cigarettes.

Cigar Use and Youth

  • High school boys now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes (10.8 percent for cigars and 10.6 percent for cigarettes).5
  • In 2013, an estimated 4.7 percent (12.6 million) of the U.S. population ages 12 and over were current cigar smokers. 876,000 of these cigar smokers were new, underage smokers, or about 2,400 new youth cigar smokers every day.6
  • In 2014, 8.2 percent of high school students were current cigar smokers; 10.8 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls.5
  • Cigar smoking by high school boys equals or surpasses cigarette smoking in more than 20 states.7
  • While cigarette use among high school students has declined consistently, 2014 was the first time cigar use rates among high school students have decreased significantly in over a decade.5
  • Non-Hispanic Black high school students are two times more likely to smoke cigars than cigarettes.5
  • In 2014, 1.9 percent of middle school students smoked cigars.5

The American Lung Association has more information available on quitting smoking and our programs to help you do so, our advocacy efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and tobacco use trends on our website, or through the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco—United States, 2000-2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. August 2012; 61(30):565-9.
  2. Nonnemaker J, Roster B, Hall P, MacMonegie A, Apelberg B. Mortality and Economic Costs from Regular Cigar Use in the United States, 2010. American Journal of Public Health. September 2014; 104(9):e86—e91.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monographs. Monograph 9: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends. 1998. NIH Pub No 98-4302. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use. Data and Statistics. Fact Sheet: Cigars. November 14, 2014.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. April 17, 2015; 64(14):381-5.
  6. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2013.
  7. The 22 states are: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. CDC, MMWR 63(4), June 12, 2014; 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey,