Collection: Sweet Cigars
There are different types of cigars available in the US- large cigars, cigarillos, and little cigars. Cigarillos are short and narrow cigars that are manufactured in a plethora of flavors ( e.g., peach, mango, cherry, grape, blueberry, wine, & white wine) that are attractively packaged and named to appeal to youth.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of characterizing flavors, except for menthol, in cigarettes.1 However, the ban did not extend to other flavored tobacco products including mini cigars and cigarillos. Declines in cigarette consumption were undermined by increases in the use of flavored tobacco products.2
A recent study found alcohol flavors being marketed by 88 unique cigar & cigarillo brands. The major 5 tobacco companies (Imperial Tobacco, Philip Morris, Swedish Match, Scandinavian Tobacco Group and Swisher International) produce 15 brands of flavored cigars & cigarillos.2 The use of flavors increases the appeal of the tobacco product by decreasing the harsh taste of tobacco thereby making it easier for an individual to initiate with the product.3
Swisher, Inc., a leading manufacturer of cigarillos, offers a variety of chocolate, strawberry, peach, grape, and other flavored little cigars under the name "Swisher Sweets." Phillies Cigarillos, another brand, also comes in a number of flavors. At one time, the brand even had a flavor called “Sugarillos” for “when sweet isn't sweet enough." 4
With their colorful packages and store placement near candy, studies have shown that kids often mistake the shiny packages for candy. Apart from attractive flavors and names, cigar companies target youth through attractive pricing and packaging. Swisher Sweets often come in packages of two sticks for 99 cents, an attractive price for adolescents with limited discretionary funds. Among all flavored cigars, Swisher Sweets accounted for a preponderance of unit sales (52.6 million unit sales, 77.8% of total).4
1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Regulations restricting the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to protect children and adolescents. Final Rule Fed Regist 2010;75:13225–3
2. Kostygina G, Glantz SA, Ling PM. Tobacco industry use of flavours to recruit new users of little cigars and cigarillos. Tob Con. 2016; 5:66–74.
3. Jackler RK, VanWinkle CK, Bumanlag IM, Ramamurthi D. (2017) Alcohol-Flavored Tobacco Products. Tob Con. [In print]
4. American Cancer Society.(2008) Big tobacco's guinea pigs: how an unregulated industry experiments on america's kids and consumers. Retrieved from https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/tobacco/docs/xkgm0222
5. CSP Daily News (April 15. 2016). Cigarette Convenience Store Sales Data from Year-End 2015. Retrieved from : http://www.cspdailynews.com/category-data/cmh/tobacco/tobacco-cigars-2016. Accessed on September 1, 2016.