Tobacco companies profit from market small cigars

Recently public health officials declared that new trend appeared among smoking people: smokers switch from expensive cigarettes to low-priced small cigars.

Cigarette consumption reduced 33 percent from 2000 to 2011, but use of other tobacco products increased by 123 percent, because smoking people are interested in cheaper alternatives to cigarettes, whose prices have been increased significantly as a many states raise taxes on them, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whole decreasing in tobacco consumption is coming to the end, with less than a 1 percent decrease in consumption from 2010 to 2011.

Small Cigars

Five small cigars

Thomas Glynn, director of international cancer control at the American Cancer Society, says that when cigarettes may no longer be primary source of earnings for tobacco companies, they will find other ways such as cigars, roll-your-own, smokeless tobacco in order to keep their customers.

Small cigars look like regular cigarettes, except for their brown color, are taxed at much lower rates, so they cost a part of what a cigarette pack does, said the CDC’s Terry Pechacek.

Unlike outdated low-priced cigars, the newly small cigars are generally surpassed cigarettes. Small cigars are a little bit larger in size and it forces them to be placed into a different tax category, permitting them to be sold for seven cents each, or about $1.40 a pack. Generally cigarette pack costs $4 or $5, says the CDC’s Michael Tynan. According to Tynan, small cigars are particularly attracting attention of to children and teenagers as cigars are available in various flavors, such as grape, vanilla and chocolate.

Tynan added that small cigars are similar to cigarettes, they smoke like cigarettes, they taste better than a cigarette because of flavors. Such cigars cost less than cigarettes because of the tax issues, but they contain the same toxic chemicals.

Young people, who have low income, make up the mass of new smokers, Pechacek says. According to the recent research, approximately all smokers start smoking before they turn 20. Increased taxes and smoke-free zones are considered to be among the most effective methods to discourage children and adults from taking up smoking, as well as encouraging them to stop smoking.

Recent CDC study reveals that one in four high school boys is already smoking cigars.

Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that the prices for small cigars remain low, thus tobacco firms are appealing children and keeping smokers smoking.

Altria, the owner of the country’s leading tobacco company, Philip Morris USA, states that small cigars and roll-your-own tobacco should be of the same tax as cigarettes, as Congress intended.

Other makers of small cigars refused to comment.

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