What are filtered cigars?

What are filtered cigars?

Filtered cigars are machine-made cigars with the same structure as traditional smokes but with the addition of a filter. This cigar style comes in various flavors and can offer a unique smoking experience.

Picking up a pack of filtered cigars can be a great option if you’re new to the cigar world and want to expand your palate to new flavors.

Before you choose a filtered cigar, it helps to understand the structure and how it compares to the traditional stogie.

The structure of filtered cigars

Cigars are made from various parts of the tobacco plant. A mix of plants creates distinctive flavors that blend seamlessly to create a delightful cigar profile.

The anatomy of a cigar is simple, and filtered cigars follow the same structure as a traditional stogie — cap, foot, and body. Regardless of whether a cigar has been hand or machine-rolled, the quality lies with the outer layers of tobacco. Other essential cigar elements include the wrapper, binder, and filler.


Holding the body together is the wrapper, constructed from a single tobacco leaf. Using a single leaf offers an even burn and ensures the cigar is smokable. Leaves are the most expensive part of the cigar, as they have the fewest flaws.


Structure and stability are the responsibility of the binder. Made from a tougher and coarser tobacco leaf, the binder is sourced from the middle of the tobacco plant. The binder is always part of the cigar that delivers much of the flavor.


The filler is the body’s inner layer and typically carries three to five types of tobacco taken from the highest part of the plant. This part of the cigar is responsible for the delightful aroma and taste. Manufacturers sometimes add extra flavoring to provide a distinct taste when creating filtered cigars.


Filtered cigars carry a filter visible at the end, which is made from cellulose acetate (a specific type of plastic). The filter is placed near the cigar cap to remove any impurities and particulates from the smoke.

How the filter in a cigar works

The filter will act as a barrier between you and the cigar. Filters work best when placed at the midpoint of the filler. This positioning lets the filter remove impurities by purifying cigar smoke before reaching your mouth.

Consider a water filter and how it removes impurities from drinking water — cigars with filters act similarly. The filter also makes them less harsh on the palate, giving them a history of popularity.

The history of filtered cigars

Filtered cigars have been on the market for almost a century — their origin dates to the 1900s, when cigarettes began surging in popularity. Smokers, captivated by the taste and convenience of cigarettes, desired a lengthier smoking experience and began to seek alternatives.

In 1915, the American Tobacco Company (ATC) founder George Washington Hill turned his attention to this new demand. Hill crafted a cigar to appeal to those smokers who enjoyed cigarettes but longed for the rich flavor of a traditional cigar.

During the First World War, soldiers were given loose tobacco instead of traditional cigarettes due to their portability and extended burn time. After observing this shift, Hill’s team developed a new product called the ‘Little Cigar.’

The little cigar was marketed towards women. Like the Marlboro woman, it appeared to be a more elegant smoking choice.

Phillip Morris released the first filtered cigarillo in 1966. Retailers began selling them under several different names until, eventually, everyone settled on ‘filtered little cigars.’ Since then, filtered cigars have sold millions.

Filtered cigars have stood the test of time and are still popular today. Many different smokers can enjoy filtered cigars regardless of personal taste preferences.

Pros and cons of filtered cigars

Like everything in life, filtered cigars carry plenty of pros and cons, which can be navigated depending on how you enjoy your cigars.

Pros of using filtered cigars 

Price: Filtered cigars don’t carry a heavy price tag because they’re smaller, containing less tobacco than your typical stogie.

Strength: The strength of these cigars makes them perfect for a beginner. Filtered cigars are less harsh and offer a smoother draw as they aren’t as ‘strong’ as your typical smoke.

Cons of using filtered cigars

Faster smoke: Filtered cigars are smaller than a typical stogie, which can mean you go through them slightly faster.

Diffused flavors: The filter diffuses the taste, so the flavors aren’t as intense. If you’re hoping for a powerful punch, you might prefer a traditional stogie.

Filtered cigars vs. cigarettes

Comparing filtered cigars and cigarettes reveals many similarities between the two. However, a few key distinctions set them apart.

Filtered cigars are finished with an outer leaf of tobacco, whereas cigarettes are manufactured with paper wrapping. You’ll get much more flavor from a filtered cigar than a cigarette, and a different burn.

Unlike cigarettes, which are inhaled, filtered cigars should not be inhaled in the same manner. While filtered, you should smoke your filtered cigar in a way more akin to how you would a traditionally sized cigar.

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