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When a ban really is not a ban: internet loopholes and Djarum flavoured cigarettes in the USA
  1. Jon-Patrick Allem1,
  2. John W Ayers2,
  3. Benjamin M Althouse3,
  4. Rebecca Williams4,5
  1. 1Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  3. 3The Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
  4. 4Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Centre, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  5. 5Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jon-Patrick Allem, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor Mail, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA; allem{at}usc.edu

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Introduction

Bans on flavoured cigarettes have been enacted in the USA,1 the EU2 and elsewhere. However, little is known about industry and consumer counter reactions. Djarum, which controls 97% of flavoured cigarette sales in the USA, immediately released ‘cigars’ resembling their banned counterparts and continued to manufacturer flavoured cigarettes.3 This study describes: (A) online consumer interest4 in, and (B) promotion and availability of Djarum cigarettes, and their cigar replacements, before and after the USA banned flavoured cigarettes in 2009.

Methods

Google searches originating in the USA including ‘Djarum’ in combination with ‘cigarette/s’ versus ‘Djarum’ in combination with ‘cigar/s’ (eg, ‘Djarum cigarettes’ would be pooled in the cigarette trend) were monitored (google.com/trends), then regressed on time (eg, 2008–2014).

The top 50 Google search results between 29 August 2013 and 28 November 2014 for ‘Djarum cigars’ and ‘Djarum cigarettes’ were classified as websites that described Djarum cigarettes or cigars favourably (promotion), and as websites that sold either product (retailing). Two investigators classified the results (κ=0.88).

Results

Djarum cigarette searches …

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