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Stanton Co-Directs Special Issue: Latest Research on Premium Cigars

August 9, 2023

Premium cigars, responsible for the cigar boom in the late 1990s, are once again experiencing a resurgence with U.S. sales doubling in the past 10 years. Cigar manufacturers have used lobbying and litigation to protect cigars from federal oversight and to thwart or delay U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements related to premarket approval for premium cigars and warning labels on all cigar products.

Cassandra A. Stanton, PhD, a Westat Associate Director for Behavioral Health and Health Policy, co-led a special journal issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Regulatory Research Advances on Premium Cigars to explore the issues around premium cigars. The 15-article special issue expands the limited published evidence in several key areas: patterns of use and characteristics of people who use premium cigars; premium cigar marketing and perceptions of use; and health-related outcomes of premium cigar use.

Dr. Stanton partnered with Drs. Cristine Delnevo and Andrea Villanti from the Rutgers Institute for Nicotine & Tobacco Studies in developing this issue, as well as co-authoring scientific contributions to the issue.

Featured articles include contributions from several of Westat’s tobacco regulatory science experts.

  • Katy Edwards, PhD, a Principal Research Associate, leads a paper supported by the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study to define and estimate premium versus nonpremium cigar use among U.S. adults.
  • Focusing on population subgroups, Eva Sharma, PhD, a Principal Research Analyst, and colleagues examine premium versus nonpremium cigar use among U.S. women of reproductive age.
  • Further exploring how marketing is associated with health disparities in tobacco use, Jenny Ozga, PhD, a Senior Research Associate, and colleagues’ reviewed cigar festivals or events, some of which were found to be targeted toward Black Americans and military populations.

“This special issue was supported by CASEL (the Center for Coordination of Analysis, Science, Enhancement, and Logistics [Westat Vice President for Public Health Jeanne Rosenthal, MPH, serves as the co-Principal Investigator]), which is a cooperative agreement between Westat, FDA, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This timely special journal issue expands the scant literature on this understudied tobacco product and has implications for federal regulatory actions that are currently under consideration to protect the public’s health,” notes Dr. Stanton.


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