Flavored Cigar Use Common among Young Adult Cigar SmokersFlavored cigar use is common among adults who smoke cigars, and particularly high among young adult cigar smokers, according to the first nationwide survey to assess adult use of these products. Flavored cigar smoking also varies by geographic region, the study found.
Dr. Brian King and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the findings online August 27 in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
Using data from the 2009–2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey, which included about 119,000 landline and cell phone users, the researchers estimated that 6.6 percent of adults in the United States smoke cigars. Cigar smoking was especially high (15.5 percent) among 18 to 24 year olds. Approximately 43 percent of adults who smoke cigars use flavored cigars, they found. Among 18- to 24-year-old cigar smokers, 57 percent use flavored cigars.
Flavored cigar use was also more common among certain groups, including women and Hispanic cigar smokers, as well as cigar smokers with less education and lower incomes. The highest rates of flavored cigar use among cigar smokers were in North Dakota (71.6 percent) and New Mexico (69.0 percent), and the lowest rates were in New Hampshire (11.1 percent) and New Jersey (23.7 percent).
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited the use of certain flavors in cigarettes—such as vanilla, chocolate, cherry, and others that have a distinguishable taste or aroma—under authority granted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. However, the FDA does not currently regulate cigars, and flavored cigars may still be manufactured and sold.
Flavorings, the study authors said, “mask the natural harshness and taste of tobacco.” Cigars contain many of the same toxic substances as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and raise the risk of several cancers, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Given the high rate of use among cigar smokers, the authors concluded, “efforts to curb flavored cigar smoking have the potential to reduce the prevalence of overall cigar smoking among U.S. adults.”