CSM - Cigar Smoking Methods - 2006


  1. To develop and update CORESTA Recommended Methods by investigating the technical problems associated with the mechanical smoking of cigars.
  2. To conduct periodical collaborative studies in order to improve repeatability and reproducibility in different cigar sizes and types.
  3. To establish confidence intervals for the smoke yields of all different cigar sizes.


The previous CORESTA Sub-Group Cigars (1972-2006) and the Sub-Group Cigar Smoking Methods have issued and / or updated the following CORESTA Recommended Methods (CRMs):

  • CRM 46: Atmosphere for Conditioning and Testing Cigars of all Sizes and Shapes (updated June 2018)
  • CRM 47: Cigars - Sampling (Jan. 2000)
  • CRM 64: Routine Analytical Cigar-Smoking Machine - Specifications, Definitions and Standard Conditions (updated May 2018)
  • CRM 65: Determination of Total and Nicotine-Free Dry Particulate Matter using a Routine Analytical Cigar-Smoking Machine – Determination of Total Particulate Matter and Preparation for Water and Nicotine Measurements (updated August 2019)
  • CRM 66: Determination of Nicotine in the Mainstream Smoke of Cigars by Gas Chromatographic Analysis (updated March 2020)
  • CRM 67: Determination of Water in the Mainstream Smoke of Cigars by Gas Chromatographic Analysis (updated March 2020)
  • CRM 68: Determination of Carbon Monoxide in the Mainstream Smoke of Cigars by Non-Dispersive Infrared Analysis (updated March 2020)

Since the establishment of the Sub-Group Cigar Smoking Methods in 2006, eleven collaborative studies have been conducted. These collaborative studies have shown a high yield repeatability (r) and reproducibility (R), both in absolute as well as in relative terms, when compared with cigarette yields in equivalent collaborative studies with the relevant methodology. This is partly caused by the fact that one result is considered to be the average of eight cigars smoked, whereas the ISO cigarette method uses 20 cigarettes for one result, making the result an average of a bigger number of units i.e. reducing its variation. In addition, due to the wide range of products, cigars cannot be smoked in a fully automated manner.

More importantly however, the high cigar variability is mainly caused by reasons related to the cigar production system and to the inherent characteristics of the product itself:


There is a very great dispersion of the weight, density, pressure drop, length and circumference of the products, due to:

  • Different and relatively low technology machine making systems;
  • The production often takes place in small batches, especially in the higher price-classes;
  • Some cigars are handmade;
  • Difficulties in controlling the porosity and gluing of the natural binder and wrapper giving rise to additional variability.


There is a wide range of the tobaccos used for cigar filler, wrapper and binder:

  • Tobacco is a natural product. The thickness, texture, porosity and combustibility of the leaves vary substantially;
  • For binder and wrapper sometimes there are only a few bales available because of the sorting according to harvesting by grade, colour and length. Subsequent batches may also differ significantly;
  • The filler tobaccos for most cigars are threshed. For longfiller cigars the filler tobaccos are not threshed at all. The consequence is a different size of the particles and therefore non-homogeneity of the filler within a cigar. This influences the pressure drop and the smoking characteristics of the cigar;
  • The spirally rolled wrapper may allow air inflow;
  • Headed cigars present a special problem, as the operator must cut them manually.


The first two objectives of the Sub-Group have been met, i.e. CORESTA Recommended Methods have been developed and updated and periodical collaborative studies have been conducted in order to improve repeatability and reproducibility.

The cigar CRMs provide a credible and useful comparison of the smoke chemistry of cigars of all shapes and sizes although it is necessary to take into consideration the practical, time consuming work of cigar smoking in laboratories and the high repeatability and reproducibility values. The methods for the machine smoking of cigars are a technical convention, only to be used for comparison between different cigar brands; and it is in no case a measure of human exposure or risks.

Repeatability and reproducibility have been improved through repetitive collaborative studies and provide an opportunity for interested laboratories to familiarise them with the challenges and areas of technical weakness involved in cigar machine-smoking and initiate work accordingly.

The improvement of operation in the participating labs and the continuation of their participation in the collaborative studies should help in improving the r&R results. However, the production and product related reasons mentioned before in addition to the lower number of cigars smoked per result and the smoking technology available will make it difficult to reach the same reproducibility levels obtained for cigarettes.

Future work

Future collaborative studies will be carried out periodically in order to improve yield repeatability and reproducibility.

The Sub-Group Coordinator and Secretary may be contacted via the CORESTA Secretariat.


In 1970, an independent group was established by a few companies interested in machine smoking of cigars.  The group, named the International Committee for Cigar Smoke Study (ICCSS), carried out two collaborative studies, and published its findings in a report “Machine Smoking of Cigar – Summary of the Conclusions to Date of the International Committee for Cigar Smoke Study (ICCSS)”.

In 1972/73, the work of this independent group was brought under the umbrella of CORESTA’s Smoke Science Study Group and called the “Cigar Sub-Group”.  The Cigar Sub-Group was an ongoing group from 1972-2006. It developed six methods, CRMs 46, 47, 64, 65, 66 and 67, and also carried out collaborative studies (a summary report of the 6th to 9th studies was published in May 2005).

The Cigar Sub-Group was disbanded in 2006 and the Cigar Smoking Methods Sub-Group formed to work on the “determination of cigar diameter” and carry out “regular smoking tests”.



Updated November 2020