Objective At least four varieties of little filtered cigars (LFCs) violate the US prohibition on flavoured cigarettes other than menthol. This study characterises the sales of prohibited products and other LFCs by flavour category and pack size, as well as the price of LFCs relative to cigarettes.
Methods Using retail sales data for 2016, we computed the sales volume in dollars and equivalent units and the percentage of total sales by flavour and pack size for the USA by region and state. Paired t-tests compared the prices for LFCs and cigarettes sold in same-sized packs and cartons.
Results LFC sales totalled 24 033 equivalent units per 100 000 persons in 2016. Flavoured LFC varieties accounted for almost half (47.5%) of the total sales. LFCs were sold in 12 different pack sizes, but 79.7% of sales were packs of 20. The price of 20-packs averaged $2.41 (SD=$1.49), which was significantly less than cigarettes (M=$5.90, SD=$0.85). Regional differences suggest a greater proportion of menthol/mint LFCs and lower prices in the South than in other regions.
Conclusion Classifying all LFCs as cigarettes would require that they be offered in a minimum package of 20, eliminate flavoured varieties other than menthol and increase prices through applicable state and local cigarette taxes.
- packaging and labelling
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Contributors DGG, TR and LH designed the study. DGG and EMC conducted the analyses. All authors contributed to interpretation of the data. DGG drafted the manuscript, and all authors edited the drafts and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding Support for this study was provided by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Cancer Institute’s State and Community Tobacco Control Initiative (U01-CA154241 and U01-CA154281) and the NIH Public Health Service grant (5-R01-CA067850).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.