While cheroot is made throughout the country, many come from Myanmar’s Shan states where it is one of the main cash crops. Each area has its own distinctive flavors – such as jaggery (a mix of dates, cane juice and palm sugar), tamarind root, honey, anise, dried banana, pineapple and rice wine. Vendors sell in most marketplace streets, and cigars are often stacked high in their stalls. A labor-intensive, low yield cottage industry, the mostly female workers can roll up to 1000 cheroots a day, for which she may not even earn one US dollar.
The Burmese writer Daw Khin Myo Chit fondly described the tobacco tray in a family home as a special part of the household. At one time, a cheroot rolled by a young lady was indication of her interest in a particular suitor attempting to court her. They are often seen at weddings and other celebrations. One benefit of cheroot cigars, as anthropologist Verrier Elwin once wrote, is their sweet aroma, which may mask the scent of sweat, and therefore, deter mosquito bites.
While some believe the sweet cheroot cigar does not pose quite the same degree of health threats as other types of cigars, it should be remembered that they are still addictive and still contain tobacco.