What’s a Cigarillo?

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Cigarillos are small cigars, about 3 inches long and 0.25 inches in diameter, often marketed as a tastier alternative to cigarettes and come in various flavors. They contain about three times the tobacco content of cigarettes and may be sold in small packages. Warning labels are required on all tobacco products.

Cigarillo is a Spanish word meaning “small cigar”. In some Spanish-speaking places, the term is used to refer to a regular cigarette, but in most English-speaking regions and other areas, the Spanish term refers to a small cigar. Cigarillos are both shorter and narrower than cigars, about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long and about 0.25 inches (6 mm) in diameter. A cigarillo is typically wrapped in whole leaf tobacco and might come with a plastic filter attached or no filter. Like cigars, cigarillos are sold both individually and in packs.


Commonly referred to as a “seven minute cigar” in Europe, a cigarillo is often marketed as a tastier alternative to cigarettes. It comes in various flavors, such as cinnamon, apple, and vanilla. Other common flavors include cherry, chocolate, coconut, peach and strawberry.

Tobacco content
Unlike the smoke from a cigarette, the smoke from a cigarillo is not meant to be inhaled. Cigarillos contain about three times the tobacco content of cigarettes, at about 3 grams per unit. Many cigarillo manufacturers use chemically homogenized tobacco instead of 100% tobacco to keep production costs and prices low. Cigarillos made from 100% tobacco aren’t always necessarily superior in quality, however, because the tobacco blend is the biggest determining factor in the cigarillo’s quality and taste.

The tobacco contained in a cigarillo typically comes from Brazil, the Dominican Republic or Cuba. The cigarillo tobacco leaf wrapper often comes from a different region than the tobacco it is filled with. Many people who smoke cigarillos smoke them in quantities that make storing cigarillos in humidors unnecessary.

Unlike cigars and cigarettes, cigarillos may be sold in very small packages, such as units of four. These are sometimes referred to as ‘children’s packs’, a name which has raised concern in countries where some people believed this type of packaging was intended for children and teenagers. The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires
all countries to include warning labels on tobacco products, whether the product is sold in individual units or packages. These labels must be highly visible, at least 30 percent of the size of the product packaging.

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