Cigar smoking among U.S. students: reported use after adding brands to survey items

Am J Prev Med. 2014 Aug;47(2 Suppl 1):S28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.05.004.


Background: Among U.S. youth overall, cigars are the most commonly used tobacco product after cigarettes. However, youth who identify their products by brand names, not general terms like "cigar," may underreport use.

Purpose: To examine changes in reported cigar (cigar, cigarillo, or little cigar) smoking among students following inclusion of cigar brand examples on the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS).

Methods: Data from the 2011 and 2012 NYTS and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were analyzed in 2013 to estimate ever and current cigar smoking, overall and by race/ethnicity. The 2012 NYTS included cigar brand examples (Black and Mild, Swisher Sweets, Dutch Masters, White Owl, Phillies Blunt) in the survey instructions and ever use question, but the 2011 NYTS and 2011 and 2012 NSDUH did not.

Results: NYTS ever cigar smoking was higher in 2012 (27.8%) than 2011 (19.5%) among black students overall. Current cigar smoking was 60%-70% higher among black females and students aged ≥ 17 years, in 2012 than 2011. For black females, current cigar smoking (11.5%) was two times greater than that of white females (4.3%) in 2012, whereas the prevalence among these subgroups was comparable in 2011. Similar changes were not observed among these subgroups in the 2011-2012 NSDUH.

Conclusions: This study highlights the high burden of cigar use among U.S. youth and suggests that NYTS ascertainment of cigar smoking may have improved by including brands. Disparities in cigar smoking need to be addressed to prevent and reduce all youth tobacco use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco Products*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*