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Stogie News: American Cigar Consumption on the Rise

27 Feb 2007

An interesting article out of Brunei, of all places, reported yesterday that American stogie sales jumped a whopping 28 percent from 2000 to 2004. This news is even more stunning considering cigarette sales declined ten percent over that same time period.

The article quotes Action on Smoking and Health Executive Director John Banzhaf – an anti-smoking zealot, not an impartial expert – claiming marketing campaigns, low taxes (excuse me?!), and cigar wielding politicians are to blame for the surge in stogie sales.

“Many of the factors that began leading to the [cigar] increase are still present,” Banzhaf said. They include the perception that cigars look fashionable and the fact that high-profile politicians and others are seen smoking them regularly. “We have Arnold (Schwarzenegger, California’s governor), smoking cigars and occasionally, Bill Clinton,” he said. “More and more women are smoking cigars.”

While busybody do-gooders like Banzhaf chalk increasing cigar consumption up as bad news, it’s worth noting there are a few positive health consequences. For one, cigar retailers and various studies suggest the average cigar enthusiast smokes much less than the average cigarette smoker. One to three times per week, to be exact. (My friends who smoke only one to three cigarettes per week consider themselves nonsmokers.)

Also, stogie smokers do not inhale. So while their risks for oral cancers are marginally higher than nonsmokers, heart disease and lung cancer rarely enters into the equation.

The alarmist article provides additional insight when it cites a recent study out of Cleveland that found, out of the 4,000 plus teens polled, 23 percent prefer cigars, compared to only 16 percent who prefer cigarettes.

This research – albeit limited in scope – contradicts two public misconceptions: (1) that teen tobacco consumption is almost entirely composed of cigarettes; and (2) that the average cigar smoker is a senile, porch occupying grandpa.

For those of you who question the validity of half-baked “reporting” out of Brunei – as you should, especially given the local media’s strong ties to Sultan Hassanal Bolkia – the research does square with an October AP article that ran in hundreds of American publications. That article prompted us to write a commentary about avoiding the pitfalls of the mid-90s cigar boom.

Patrick A


8 Responses to “Stogie News: American Cigar Consumption on the Rise”

  1. Abby Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 4:31 am #

    What's even more impressive is that cigar sales are steadily climbing in the face of intrusive smoking bans.

    This shows that "health" advocates' argument that bans discourage smoking does not hold water. That point was further proven in Thomas Lambert's "The Case Against Smoking Bans" from Cato's Regulation magazine.

    Great website, by the way!

  2. jross Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 4:36 am #

    baltimore fell last night…case you didn't hear

  3. Jerry @ Stogie Revie Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 4:52 am #

    Bye bye Baltimore…pretty soon MD won't need a State wide ban since every locallity here is banning smoking on their own.

    Which brings me to this question to the Stogie Guys…with tobacco taxes at an all time high and increasingly more and more bans are being enacted, whats responsible for the growth?

  4. George E Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 5:21 am #

    To be honest, I don't think smoking bans have nearly as much impact on cigars as cigarettes. In recent decades, cigars had become unwelcome in many restaurants and bars that allowed cigarette smoking. Also, don't forget the number of premium cigars sold is tiny compared to cigarettes. Cigar Cyclopedia reported yesterday that in 2006 the U.S. imported about 311 million premium cigars (a drop from the previous year). Compare that to U.S. annual cigarette sales of roughly 375 billion. I think the popularity of cigars is actually rather simple: it is incredibly enjoyable, relaxing and relatively inexpensive.

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