Smokers Substituting Cigars, Loose Tobacco for Cigarettes

Uptake of other sources of tobacco blunts effect of tobacco tax

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The popularity of cigarette smoking in the United States continues to decline, but it appears many smokers are turning to less heavily taxed cigars and loose tobacco, according to a report published in the Aug. 3 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Michael A. Tynan, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined excise tax data from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to estimate U.S. consumption of cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products, such as cigars and pipe tobacco, over the last decade.

The researchers found that, although cigarette consumption fell 32.8 percent from 2000 to 2011, consumption of cigars and loose tobacco rose 123.1 percent during that time. This trend contributed to an increase in combustible tobacco consumption made up of cigars and loose tobacco, from 3.4 percent in 2000 to 10.4 percent in 2011.

"The data suggest that certain smokers have switched from cigarettes to other combustible tobacco products, most notably since a 2009 increase in the federal tobacco excise tax that created tax disparities between product types," Tynan and colleagues conclude.

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