Cigars

Recent increased publicity of cigar use by celebrities, the introduction of cigar bars and the sub-culture of cigar paraphernalia such as humidors and clippers have combined to create a glamorous aura around a deadly product.  According to estimates by the Economic Research Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 5 million cigars were consumed in 2006.1 Cigar sales rose 9.2 percent in 2007 and generated more than $3.4 billion in retail sales.2

Key Facts About Cigar Use:

  • Cancer of the lung, oral cavity, larynx and esophagus have been shown to be caused by regular cigar smoking. Those who smoke cigars heavily or inhale deeply also increase their risk of developing COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic bronchitis or emphysema).3
  • Cigars contain the same addictive, toxic and carcinogenic compounds found in cigarettes and are not a safe alternative. In fact, a single large cigar can contain as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes.4
  • Cigar smoking has similar consequences to cigarette smoking, including 4 to 10 times the risk of dying from oral, esophageal or laryngeal cancer in comparison to nonsmokers.5
  • Since 2001, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has required all cigar packages and advertisements to include warnings about the significant health risks associated with cigar use.6
  • For tax purposes, cigars are defined as tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any product containing tobacco. Cigarettes are defined as being wrapped in paper.7  This leads to state taxes on cigars often being significantly less than taxes on cigarettes.
Cigar Use in the U.S.:
  • In 2007, an estimated 5.8 percent (12.6 million) of the U.S. population ages 12 and over were current cigar smokers.8
  • In 2007, 13.6 percent of high school students were current cigar smokers; 19.4 percent of boys and 7.6 percent of girls. Use ranged from a high of 18.9 percent in New Mexico to a low of 7.0 percent in Utah.9
  • Cigar use increases with each grade, from 9.9 percent in 9th graders to 17.6 percent in 12th graders. Non-Hispanic Whites have the highest rates of cigar smoking among high school students, (14.8 percent) followed by Hispanics (12.7 percent) and non-Hispanic Blacks (10.0 percent).10
  • In 2006, only 4 percent of middle school students smoked cigars.11
  • In 2005, the two most used cigar brands were Black and Mild (22.8 percent) and Swisher Sweets (14.4 percent) for both genders, all age groups, and all races and ethnicities.12
The American Lung Association has more information available on quitting smoking and our programs to help you do so, our advocacy efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and tobacco use trends on our website at www.lung.org, or through the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872).

    1.

    U.S. Department of Agriculture. Capehart, T. Tobacco Outlook. Economic Research Service, April 2007. Available here. Accessed on August 28, 2008.

    2.

    Maxwell JC. Cigar Industry in 2007. Richmond, VA: The Maxwell Report; 2008. In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use. Fact Sheet: Cigars. February 2009. Available here.

    3.

    National Cancer Institute. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monographs. Monograph 9: Cigars: Health Effects and Trends. 1998. NIH Pub No 98-4302. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.

    4.

    American Cancer Society. Cigar Smoking Fact Sheet. October 11, 2007. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.

    5.

    American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2007. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.

    6.

    Federal Trade Commission. Nationwide Labeling Rules for Cigar Packaging and Ads Take Effect Today. February 13, 2001. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.

    7.

    Maxwell JC. Cigar Industry in 2005. Richmond, VA: The Maxwell Report; 2006. In Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and Tobacco Use. Fact Sheet: Cigars. March 2007. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.

    8.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables.

    9.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2007. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. June 6, 2008; 57(SS-04).

    10.

    Ibid.

    11.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey and Key Prevalence Indicators.

    12.

    Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Office of Applied Studies. Results from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables 7.64A-7.66B. September 2006. Available here. Accessed March 3, 2008.