Cigar inspector


Cigar inspectors test, sort, sample and weigh cigars in order to find defects and deviations away from the product’s specifications.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to cigar inspector:

cigar product examiner
cigar packing inspector
cigar packing examiner
tobacco products inspector
cigar quality tester
cigar product tester
quality checker (cigars)
cigar products quality inspector
cigar tester
cigar quality checker
quality tester (cigars)
cigar sampler
cigar checker
cigar quality inspector
cigar product checker
cigar products inspector
cigar examiner
quality inspector (cigars)

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally the minimum required to work as a cigar inspector.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Cigar inspector is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Cigar inspector career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to cigar inspector.

leaf sorter
leaf tier
cigar brander
curing room worker
bulk filler

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of cigar inspector. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of cigar inspector with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

green coffee buyer
green coffee coordinator
animal feed supervisor
malt house supervisor
distillery supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of cigar inspector.

  • History of tobacco: The different stages and developments of tobacco cultivation, cultural particularities and trading through time.
  • Quality prototype of a tobacco leaf: Characteristics and properties of a tobacco leaf to grade and consider it of high, medium, or low quality product taking into account colour variations, tears, tar spots, tight grain, and size of the leaf.
  • Curing methods for tobacco leaves: Processes which aim at eliminating the moisture of tobacco leaves and grant scent in order to prepare them for consumption.
  • Manufacturing of smokeless tobacco products: The processes, materials, and techniques to manufacture different types of smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, tobacco gum and snus.
  • Manufacturing of smoked tobacco products: The processes, materials, and techniques to manufacture different types of smoked tobacco products such as cigars, fine cut tobacco, pipe tobacco, and cigarettes.
  • Variety of tobacco leaves: Types of tobacco cultivars and varieties and their characteristics. Connection of attributes with cigar or cigarettes product requirements.
  • Manufacturing of by-products from tobacco: The processes, materials, and techniques to manufacture by products using tobacco leaves as a base such as tobacco paste for the skin and insecticides.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of cigar inspector.

  • Smoke cigars: Technique to smoke a cigar in order to test suitability in all aspects. This consists of: grabbing the cigar, lightening it, moisturising its end before lighting it up and labeling it.
  • Control levels of nicotine per cigar: Control the levels of nicotine present in the leaves of tobacco to maintain required levels of nicotine in each cigar and comply with relevant regulations, if any.
  • Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
  • Mark differences in colours: Identify differences between colours, such as shades of colour.
  • Manage delivery of raw materials: Manage reception of raw materials. Receive raw materials from the suppliers. Check for quality and accuracy and move into the warehouse. Make sure that raw materials are adequately stored until they are required by the production department.
  • Assess the colour curing of tobacco leaves: Assess colour curing of tobacco leaves to determine the stage of curing and aging of the leaf.
  • Apply HACCP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
  • Check quality of products on the production line: Check products for quality on the production line and remove defective items before and after packaging.
  • Weigh leaf quantity per cigar: Weigh and determine the quantity of leaves to be rolled in cigars according to specifications.
  • Maintain updated professional knowledge: Regularly attend educational workshops, read professional publications, actively participate in professional societies.
  • Grade tobacco leaves: Grade tobacco leaves to reflect their quality and suitability for different tobacco products.
  • Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
  • Apply GMP: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
  • Assure quality of tobacco leaves: Assure quality of tobacco leaves by examining leaves for colour variations, tears, tar spots, tight grain, and size under specifications. Place leaves not suitable for wrapper in separate pile. Fold wrapper leaves into bundles for stripping.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of cigar inspector. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Tobacco products: The varieties of products that can be manufactured using tobacco leaves as a base. The types of tobacco products which are smoked tobacco products, smokeless tobacco products, and byproducts of tobacco leaves.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of cigar inspector. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
  • Show confidence: Demonstrate degrees of maturity by fully understanding one’s own qualities and abilities which can serve as sources of confidence in different situations.
  • Apply foreign language for international trade: Communicate in foreign languages to facilitate international trade operations such as the importation of food and beverages.
  • Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
  • Perform services in a flexible manner: Adapt service approach when circumstances change.
  • Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
  • Label samples: Label raw material/ product samples for laboratory checks, according to implemented quality system.

ISCO group and title

7543 – Product graders and testers (excluding foods and beverages)

  1. Cigar inspector – ESCO
Last updated on October 22, 2022

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