Background In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned characterising flavours in cigarettes (except for menthol) due to their appeal to teen starter smokers. In August 2016, the agency deemed all tobacco products to be under its authority and a more comprehensive flavour ban is under consideration.
Objectives To determine the scope and scale of alcohol-flavoured tobacco products among cigars & cigarillos, hookahs and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
Methods Alcohol-flavoured tobacco products were identified by online search of tobacco purveyors’ product lines and via Google search cross-referencing the various tobacco product types versus a list of alcoholic beverage flavours (eg, wine, beer, appletini, margarita).
Results 48 types of alcohol-flavoured tobacco products marketed by 409 tobacco brands were identified. Alcohol flavours included mixed drinks (n=25), spirits (11), liqueurs (7) and wine/beer (5). Sweet and fruity tropical mixed drink flavours were marketed by the most brands: piña colada (96), mojito (66) and margarita (50). Wine flavours were common with 104 brands. Among the tobacco product categories, brands offering alcohol-flavoured e-cigarettes (280) were most numerous, but alcohol-flavoured products were also marketed by cigars & cigarillos (88) and hookah brands (41). Brands by major tobacco companies (eg, Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco) were well represented among alcohol-flavoured cigars & cigarillos with five companies offering a total of 17 brands.
Conclusions The widespread availability of alcohol-flavoured tobacco products illustrates the need to regulate characterising flavours on all tobacco products.
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Contributors RKJ conceived of the project and was the principal author of the paper. CKV, IMB, DR and RKJ all collected the advertisements, analysed the data and prepared the tables.
Funding The study was supported by Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.