HPRC Researcher Contributes to a National Examination of Premium Cigar Marketing and Availability

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Cigar consumption has been increasing in the U.S. since the 1990s. Dr. Amanda Kong, Assistant Professor in the department of Family and Preventive Medicine and faculty at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC), was a contributing researcher in a recently released report “Premium Cigars: Patterns of Use, Marketing and Health Effects.”

The report was a result of committee convened in 2021 by the FDA and National Institutes of Health to examine product characteristics, patterns of use, marketing and perceptions, and health effects of premium cigars. Kong’s research focuses on how cancer-related health behaviors and outcomes are related to the social and built environments in which people live, work and interact.

Very little is known about the availability and location of premium cigar retailers nationally. To address this gap in knowledge, Kong examined the locations and neighborhood density of Premium Cigar Association retailers across the U.S., finding more than 1,200 retailers between 2019 and 2021. Every state, except North Dakota and Vermont, had a cigar retailer, and Florida had the most at 220. In Oklahoma, there were 16 premium cigar retailers. Kong also found that across the U.S., retailers were more likely to be located in neighborhoods with higher proportions of white residents.

“A number of studies have focused on examining the locations and density of traditional tobacco retailer outlets (e.g., convenience stores),” Kong said. “Similar work on specialty tobacco shops like premium cigar retailers is needed. Specifically, future research should determine how various types of premium cigar retailers (e.g., cigar bar, lounges) sell and market their products, and how retailer location contributes to use.”

The report includes nine priority research recommendations, including developing a formal definition of cigars and funding research focused on the marketing, advertising and promotional practices used by companies to manufacture, distribute, and sell premium cigars. Read Kong’s contribution and the full report, “Premium Cigars: Patterns of Use, Marketing, and Health Effects” here.

Kong is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (P30CA225520) and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET R21-02).