Objectives To assess the retail availability of cigar products that refer to marijuana and the largest package size of cigarillos available for ≤$1.
Methods Trained data collectors conducted marketing surveillance in a random sample of licensed tobacco retailers that sold little cigars/cigarillos (LCCs) (n=530) near a statewide sample of middle and high schools (n=132) in California. Multilevel models examined the presence of marijuana co-marketing and cigarillo pack size as a function of school/neighbourhood characteristics and adjusted for store type.
Results Of stores that sold LCCs, approximately 62% contained at least one form of marijuana co-marketing: 53.2% sold cigar wraps marketed as blunt wraps, 27.2% sold cigarillos marketed as blunts and 26.0% sold at least one LCC with a marijuana-related ‘concept’ flavour. Controlling for store type, marijuana co-marketing was more prevalent in school neighbourhoods with a higher proportion of young residents (ages 5–17 years) and with lower median household income. Nearly all stores that sold LCCs (87.9%) offered the products for ≤$1. However, significantly larger packs at similarly low prices were available near schools in lower-income neighbourhoods and with a lower percentage of Hispanic students.
Conclusions Understanding how the tobacco industry manipulates cigar products and marketing to capitalise on the appeal of marijuana to youth and other priority populations is important to inform regulation, particularly for flavoured tobacco products. In addition, the retail availability of five and six packs of LCCs for ≤$1 near California schools underscores policy recommendations to establish minimum prices for multipacks.
- advertising and promotion
- non-cigarette tobacco products
- packaging and labelling
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Contributors LH, NCS and SPF: designed the study. TOJ and KA: managed the data collection. NCS: managed the analyses. All authors: contributed to initial drafts and made critical revisions.
Funding National Institutes of Health Public Health Service Grant #5R01-CA067850 from the National Cancer Institute and California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program grant #22RT-0142.
Disclaimer The funders had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis, writing, or interpretation.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement Data from this study will be available upon request at the conclusion of the research in accordance with NCI policy.