Flavors and Risk: Perceptions of Flavors in Little Cigars and Cigarillos Among U.S. Adults, 2015

Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Aug 14;20(9):1055-1061. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx153.


Introduction: Flavored little cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars (LCCs) are popular and pose unique health risks. This study explored risk perceptions of flavors in LCCs and the relationship between perceptions and use among U.S. adults.

Methods: Data were from the 2015 Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Survey of a national probability sample of 6051 adults, conducted online, August-September, 2015. The analytic sample consisted of 5105 adults aware of LCCs and 2174 who had ever used any type of LCCs.

Results: Just over half of adults reported flavors in LCCs as "very" or "somewhat" risky, while more than one-third of adults reported they did not know the risks of flavors in LCCs. Younger adults, males, and users of any LCCs were more likely than older adults, females and non-users, respectively, to perceive LCC flavors as less risky. Those who perceived LCC flavors as "not at all risky" or "a little risky" were roughly twice as likely to have ever used flavored LCCs compared to those who reported not knowing the risks (AOR = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.16 to 3.69 and AOR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.26 to 3.06). Those who reported LCC flavors as "very risky" were also more likely to have ever used flavored LCCs than those who reported not knowing the risks (AOR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.98).

Conclusions: Though the proportion of adults assigning low risk to flavors in LCCs is small, these adults are more likely to use flavored LCCs. The association of use with risk perceptions of flavors in LCCs should be addressed in health risk campaigns.

Implications: Flavored LCCs are popular, particularly among young adults. While understanding the impact of flavors is an FDA research priority, little is currently known about perceptions of risk associated with flavors in LCCs. This study explores the nature of risk perceptions of flavors in LCCs, and the relationship between perceptions and flavored LCC use. We conclude that perception of risk of flavors in LCCs is related to use of these products, particularly perception of less risk. Considering the relationship between use and risk perceptions would be helpful in constructing health risk messaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cannabis / adverse effects
  • Cannabis / chemistry
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Flavoring Agents / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smokers / psychology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Tobacco / adverse effects
  • Tobacco / chemistry
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Flavoring Agents