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In the United States (US), cigar products are disproportionately used by African-American (9.5%) and male (9.0%) high school students and young adults (3.1%).1 2 Swisher Sweets, the second top-selling cigar brand in the US3 4 accounting for nearly one-third of the cigar market share,1 2 is particularly popular among racial/ethnic minority and young cigar smokers.5 As a part of its web-based marketing efforts, Swisher Sweets promotes and supports musical artists, has a branded presence at concerts and holds pop-up music events in convenience stores that are promoted on its website and social media (figure 1).
Currently, there are no restrictions on the ability of manufacturers, distributors or retailers of cigars to engage in cigar-branded sponsorships. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), a federal law enacted in 2009, included a ban on branded sponsorshipsi of ‘athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural events’6–9; however, this only applied to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Similar restrictions were included in the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and Smokeless Master Settlement Agreement.10 These sponsorship restrictions were implemented based on evidence of the relationship between exposure to tobacco brand names and imagery and uptake of tobacco use among youth.11 12 Although the US Food and Drug Administration extended comprehensive regulatory authority to all tobacco products through a final deeming regulation in 2016,7 13 the sponsorship ban has not been extended to include cigars at this time. At this time, there are many lawsuits challenging the deeming regulation14; therefore, the ultimate implementation …
↵i Sponsorship ban is defined as follows: “No manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may sponsor or cause to be sponsored any athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural event, or any entry or team in any event, in the brand name (alone or in conjunction with any other word), logo, symbol, motto, selling message, recognisable colour or pattern of colours, or any other indicia of product identification identical or similar to, or identifiable with, those used for any brand of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco”.
↵ii As of 24 August 2017.
Contributors OG and SWR conceptualised the idea. OG wrote the first draft of the paper and SWR and JC provided input on subsequent manuscript drafts. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.