US Adult Cigar Smoking Patterns, Purchasing Behaviors, and Reasons for Use According to Cigar Type: Findings From the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, 2013-2014

Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Nov 15;20(12):1457-1466. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx209.


Introduction: The US cigar market is diverse, yet until recently most research studies and tobacco surveillance systems have not reported behavioral and related outcomes by cigar type.

Methods: The 2013-2014 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study collected data separately for filtered cigars (FCs), cigarillos, and traditional cigars, which were further distinguished as premium or nonpremium. Descriptive statistics for adult established current smokers of each cigar type and cigarettes were calculated for demographic characteristics, tobacco use patterns, purchasing behaviors and reasons for use. Adjusted prevalence ratios (APRs) using a marginal predictions approach with logistic regression assessed correlates of dual cigar and cigarette smoking.

Results: Age, sex, race/ethnicity, education level, and poverty status of smokers varied according to cigar type. Daily cigar smoking prevalence and number of cigars smoked per day were higher for FCs (37.3%; median: 1.6 cigars/day, respectively), than all other cigar types (6.7%-25.3%, all p < .01; 0.1-0.4 cigars/day, all p < .01, respectively); daily smoking and cigars per day were similar for nonpremium cigars and cigarillos (p = .11; p = .33, respectively). Cigarette smoking was twice as common among smokers of nonpremium cigars, cigarillos, and FCs (58.0%-66.0%) than among premium cigars (29.9%). Among current cigar smokers, FC smokers (APR = 1.23, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09-1.39), other tobacco product users (APR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.15-1.41), and those with a GED/high school diploma or less (APR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.09-1.33) were more likely to also smoke cigarettes.

Conclusion: User characteristics, cigar smoking patterns, and dual smoking with cigarettes varied by cigar type highlighting the importance of adequately describing the cigar type studied and, where appropriate, differentiating results by cigar type.

Implications: Despite the diversity of the cigar market place, historically many research studies and tobacco surveillance systems have treated cigars as a single product type. This study describes similarities and differences in the user characteristics, tobacco use patterns, and purchasing behaviors of premium, nonpremium, cigarillo, and filtered cigar smokers. To enhance tobacco regulatory science, sufficient descriptions of the cigar type(s) studied and, where appropriate, differentiation of the particular cigar type(s) studied should be undertaken to improve the interpretation of study findings, understanding of cigar use patterns and related behaviors and future approaches to reducing cigar-attributable morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cigar Smoking / economics*
  • Cigar Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Cigar Smoking / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Consumer Behavior / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (U.S.) / economics
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (U.S.) / trends
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Smokers / psychology
  • Tobacco Products / classification
  • Tobacco Products / economics*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration / economics
  • United States Food and Drug Administration / trends
  • Young Adult