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Tob Regul Sci. 2017 Apr;3(2 Suppl 1):S8-S16.

Changes in the Mass-merchandise Cigar Market since the Tobacco Control Act.

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Professor, Rutgers School of Public Health, Center for Tobacco Studies, Piscataway, NJ.
Assistant Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, NY.
Research Associate, Rutgers School of Public Health, Center for Tobacco Studies, Piscataway, NJ.



This study identifies the specific product characteristics driving mass-merchandise cigar sales in the context of the changing regulatory environment.


Cigar sales data in US convenience stores during 2008-2015 were purchased from Nielsen's Convenience Track system. Descriptive statistics highlight changes in the cigar market over time.


Sales of flavored cigars increased by nearly 50% since 2008 and now make up over half of the cigar market. Fruit remains the most popular flavor group, but the sale of non-descript flavors such as "Jazz" and "Green" has grown substantially. Inexpensive 2- and 3-packs made up less than 1% of cigar sales in 2008, but by 2015 this packaging style held 40% of the market share. Black & Mild and Swisher Sweets dominate the convenience store channel and together are responsible for nearly 60% of total mass-merchandise cigar sales.


Cigar companies take advantage of features recently banned for cigarettes, such as flavorings and small pack sizes to maintain strong sales. Given the appeal of mass-merchandise cigars to youth and young adults, the FDA and other governing bodies should regulate the manufacturing and promotion of cigars in the same way they have regulated cigarettes.


cigarillos; cigars; flavors; retail; tobacco control

[Available on 2017-04-01]

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