Small cigars: Sales Grow as Smoking Patterns Change

“A fine cigar should be indulged, puffed slowly and enjoyed”, once said Zino Davidoff, a world-famous tobacconist, who stood behind premium Davidoff tobacco products, “the best interval between the puffs in once a minute”, he wrote in his “Guide to Cigar Etiquette” published in 1967.

Small cigars popular in Europe

But nowadays, when people live in rush and every minute matters, smokers don’t want to spend much time on enjoying cigar smoke. Consequently, cigar sales have dropped by 20% over the past half-decade- partly due to the overall drop in smoking rates. However, small cigars and cigarillos are growing. Currently they account for nearly 60% of the United Kingdom’s cigar market, found a research by AC Nielsen.

Large cigars are handmade – made from manually gathered tobacco and wrapped in dried tobacco leaf – and thus, are very expensive. They should be carefully stored in humidors, and even have their vintage years, just like good wine.

Cigar aficionados savor the fragrance, circumference, and firmness of their favorite cigars. They own specialized gadgets to care about their cigars, like humidors and small guillotines to cut off the cigar’s tip. Among cigar smokers there have been many world-famous personalities, including Winston Churchill, who smoked premium Cuban cigars, and Sigmund Freud.

In contrast, small cigars and cigarillos are machine-made and produced in large amounts from cut tobacco. In addition, there are many flavored and dipped ranges, including, vanilla, cherry, rum, caramel, and others.

Small cigars are growing in popularity for several reasons. First, the smoking ban in all indoor venues, introduced across the United Kingdom in 2007. The process of smoking a large cigar lasts for almost an hour, while the mini versions take about five minutes – making them definitely a more appropriate choice for the smokers who are forced to get out from pubs and clubs for a puff. Cigar makers have rapidly made use of this change: Scandinavian Tobacco Company, one of the leading tobacconists, launched “Moments” cigars later in 2007 to offer a short-lasting smoke.

Secondly, small cigars are way less expensive than the longer ones. The trend for exclusive handmade cigars in the 1990s lifted their prices, and currently a cigar is selling for $10 and up. At the same time a box of 10 Café Crème cigars, the best-selling cigar brand costs $5 and can be bought in most corner stores. Colts and Calistos, another popular cigar brand, are even less expensive. As cigars are taxed basing on weight, the tax on a large cigar is much higher than that on a on small cigars and cigarillos, according to the Association of Tobacco Manufacturers.

Even companies that manufacture hand-rolled cigars are turning to these shifts. Sales of ‘short robustos’, short fat cigars made from premium tobacco, are growing.

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