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Swisher Sweets ‘Artist Project’: using musical events to promote cigars
  1. Ollie Ganz1,2,
  2. Shyanika W Rose1,
  3. Jennifer Cantrell1,3
  1. 1Schroeder Institute, Truth Initiative, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  2. 2Department of Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  3. 3Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Ollie Ganz, Department of Prevention and Community Health, George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, DC 20052, USA; ganzo{at}gwmail.gwu.edu

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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).

Figure 1

Swisher Sweets ‘Artist Project’ website source: ap.swishersweets.com (accessed 20 April 2017).

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 …

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