Objectives: Little cigars and cigarillos are gaining in popularity as cigarette use wanes, mainly due to relaxed regulatory standards that make them cheaper, easier to buy individually, and available in a variety of flavors not allowed in cigarettes. To address whether they should be regulated as strictly as cigarettes, we investigated whether little cigar secondhand smoke (SHS) decreases vascular endothelial function like that of cigarettes.
Methods: We exposed rats to SHS from little cigars, cigarettes, or chamber air, for 10 minutes and measured the resulting acute impairment of arterial flow-mediated dilation (FMD).
Results: SHS from both little cigars and cigarettes impaired FMD. Impairment was greater after exposure to little cigar SHS than by cigarette SHS relative to pre-exposure values, although the post-exposure FMD values were not significantly different from each other.
Conclusions: Exposure to little cigar SHS leads to impairment of FMD that is at least equal to that resulting from similar levels of cigarette SHS. Our findings support the need to prevent even brief exposure to little cigar SHS, and support tobacco control policies that regulate little cigars as strictly as cigarettes.
Keywords: cigarillos; filtered cigars; flow-mediated dilation; little cigars; secondhand smoke; vascular endothelial function.