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Cylindrical roll of tobacco for smoking, consisting of cut tobacco filler formed in a binder leaf and with a wrapper leaf rolled spirally around the bunch. Wrapper leaf, the most expensive leaf used in cigars, must be strong, elastic, silky in texture, and even in colour; it must have a pleasant flavour and good burning properties. Cigars are bigger than cigarettes, and the odour and smoke they produce are stronger. Cigars were being smoked by Maya Indians by the 10th century; they were reported back to Spain by Christopher Columbus and other explorers and became popular there long before they spread to other European countries.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cigar, visit Britannica.com.