Tobacco use has been found to be one of the primary drivers of cancer-related health disparities because its use disproportionately impacts people based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, mental health, income level, education level, and geographic location. Achieving health equity relies heavily on eliminating tobacco use. ACS CAN is pursuing fact-based tobacco control policies at the local, state and federal levels that aim to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for everyone.
Excluding Cigars from Tobacco Control Laws Risks Everyone’s Long-Term Health
Cigars, cigarillos, and little cigars pose a real danger to the long-term health of all Americans – especially young people – yet government regulation of these products lags behind that of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Cigars are often excluded from evidence-based tobacco control measures including not being taxed at the same rate as cigarettes. These exclusions provide opportunity for the tobacco industry to take advantage of and aggressively market their deadly products to communities of color, limited income communities, LGBTQ+ people and youth. For instance, Black people are more than twice as likely to smoke cigars compared to White people.[i] Since regular cigar smoking increases the risk of cancers of the lung, oral cavity, larynx, and esophagus,[ii],[iii],[iv] it is not surprising that African Americans experience a disproportionate burden of cigar use, exacerbating disparities.[v] Tobacco control policies must be comprehensive to reduce tobacco use among all populations.
[i] Chen-Sankey JC, Mead-Morse EL, Le D, et al. Cigar-Smoking Patterns by Race/Ethnicity and Cigar Type: A Nationally Representative Survey Among U.S. Adults. Am J Prev Med. Jan 2021;60(1):87-94. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2020.07.005
[ii] Baker F, Ainsworth SR, Dye JT, et al. Health risks associated with cigar smoking. JAMA. 2000;284(6): 735-740.
[iii] Shanks TG, Burns DM. Disease consequences of cigar smoking. National Cancer Institute, Smoking and Tobacco Control, Monograph 9: Cigars – Health Effects and Trends. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health, 1998.
[iv] Shapiro JA, Jacobs EJ, Thun MJ. Cigar smoking in men and risk of death from tobacco-related cancers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2000;92(4): 333-337.