The consumption of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products increased by 123 percent between 2000 and 2011, offsetting declines in total cigarette consumption, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report found the most significant increases were in consumption of pipe tobacco (482 percent) and large cigars (233 percent). A CDC statement announcing the findings largely attributed these increases to tobacco manufacturers adding weight to many small cigars so they can be classified as large cigars and avoid higher taxes and regulation, while at the same time retaining a size and shape very similar to cigarettes. In addition, the difference in manufacturing and marketing restrictions between cigarettes and cigars is another factor. The Food and Drug Administration currently prohibits the use of flavoring or descriptors such as “light” or “low tar” in cigarettes, but there are no similar restrictions for cigars and pipe tobacco
“This is an alarming trend that has the potential to erode gains made in cardiovascular health,” said ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC. “The CDC deserves thanks for bringing this study to light and our job now is to not only strengthen education of consumers and patients about tobacco, but also work with state and national lawmakers to close loopholes that allow small “cigars” to circumvent cigarette-related restrictions.”
The report, which uses Treasury Department data, marks the first time that CDC has calculated consumption estimates It to calculate consumption for all forms of smoked tobacco products.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Its can lead to cardiovascular disease and the worsening of chronic health conditions. To that end, many of the clinical guidelines published by the ACC Foundation and the American Heart Association specifically address smoking cessation. The ACC’s CardioSmart program offers a number of resources to help patients and consumers quit smoking. In particular the CardioSmartTXT “QUIT” program provides free text messages to help consumers reach their target quit date. Patient fact sheets are also available for download.