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Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco—United States, 2000–2011

This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being updated.

August 3, 2012 / Vol. 61 / No. 30

MMWR Introduction

CDC used data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to calculate consumption for cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars for 2000 to 2011. Over this period, total consumption of all combustible tobacco declined by 27.5%. However, while consumption of cigarettes declined by 32.8%, consumption of non-cigarette combustible tobacco increase by 123%. The largest increases were in pipe tobacco (482%) and large cigars (233%). Thus, overall combustible tobacco consumption decreased, but not as much as cigarette consumption; while consumption of non-cigarette combustibles doubled. Other studies show that among youth and young adults, cigar use and simultaneous use of multiple tobacco products is even higher.

Recent analyses of excise tax data reveal that the tobacco industry is adapting the marketing and production of cigar and roll-your-own tobacco products to minimize federal excise tax and thus reduce the price of these products compared with cigarettes. In addition, cigars and pipe tobacco are exempt from Food and Drug Administration restrictions on flavorings and descriptors such as "light" and "low tar."

The availability of low-priced and less-regulated alternative products to smokers who might have otherwise quit smoking has diminished the public health impact that excise tax increases and uniform regulation might otherwise have had on preventing youth initiation, reducing consumption, and prompting quit attempts. In addition, the increase in cigar and pipe tobacco use is a particular public health concern, as all tobacco smoke causes cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.