The NHSDA Report

December 21, 2001

Cigar Use

In Brief

  • From 1990 to 1998, the annual number of new cigar users climbed steadily, but decreased 22 percent between 1998 and 1999

  • In 2000, current cigar use was higher among young adults than among those from other age groups

  • More than half of current cigar users also smoked cigarettes during the past month

 

Since the 1950s, epidemiological studies have found an increased risk of esophageal, lung, oral, and laryngeal cancer among cigar smokers.1 According to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), 4.8 percent of persons aged 12 or older (more than 10 million individuals) were current cigar users (i.e., they smoked cigars in the past month). The 2000 NHSDA collected data on the number of new cigar users each year, as well as on the current use of cigars.



Trends in New Cigar Use

The annual number of new cigar users rose dramatically in the 1990s despite widespread tobacco prevention initiatives (Figure 1). From 1990 to 1998,2 the number of new cigar users increased by 208 percent, climbing from almost 2 million in 1990 to nearly 5 million in 1998. However, between 1998 and 1999, the number of persons who took up cigar smoking declined nearly 22 percent. In 1999, over 400,000 fewer youths aged 12 to 17 and 400,000 fewer young adults aged 18 to 25 were new cigar smokers than in 1998.

Figure 1. Estimated Numbers (in Millions) of Persons Who First Used Cigars During the Years from 19901999

Figure 2. Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group: 2000

Figure 1.  Estimated Numbers (in Millions) of Persons Who First Used Cigars During the Years from 19901999 Figure 2.  Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group: 2000

Prevalence of Cigar Use

Young adults aged 18 to 25 (10.4 percent) were more likely to report past month cigar use compared with youths aged 12 to 17 (4.5 percent) and adults aged 26 or older (3.9 percent) (Figure 2). Among young adults, 18 to 20 year olds (12.9 percent) were significantly more likely to have smoked cigars in the past month than those aged 21 to 25 (8.7 percent). Males (8.4 percent) were more likely than females (1.5 percent) to report past month cigar use (Figure 3). This gender difference was less pronounced for 12 to 17 year olds (6.4 percent males, 2.5 percent females) than it was for those aged 18 to 25 (16.5 percent males, 4.4 percent females) or those aged 26 or older (7.3 percent males, 0.8 percent females). The rate of past month cigar use was higher among whites (5.0 percent) and blacks (5.1 percent) than it was for Hispanics (3.9 percent) (Figure 4). Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate was higher for whites (5.3 percent) than for blacks (2.8 percent) and Hispanics (3.1 percent). For young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate was higher for blacks (13.1 percent) than it was for whites (11.3 percent) and Hispanics (6.0 percent).

Figure 3. Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group and Gender: 2000

Figure 4. Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group and Race/Ethnicity: 2000

Figure 3.  Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group and Gender: 2000 Figure 4.  Percentages Reporting Past Month Cigar Use, by Age Group and Race/Ethnicity: 2000

Cigarette, Smokeless Tobacco, and Pipe Use Among Current Cigar Users

According to the NHSDA, current cigar users were more likely to smoke cigarettes (56.1 percent) than use smokeless tobacco (11.9 percent) or smoke pipes (5.6 percent) (Figure 5). Younger cigar users were more likely to use other tobacco products than older cigar users. For example, current cigar users aged 12 to 17 (71.8 percent) and aged 18 to 25 (71.4 percent) were more likely than those aged 26 or older (46.7 percent) to smoke cigarettes during the past month. Current cigar users aged 12 to 17 (15.2 percent) and aged 18 to 25 (13.9 percent) were also more likely than those aged 26 or older (10.4 percent) to use smokeless tobacco during the past month. Current cigar users aged 12 to 17 (8.4 percent) were more likely than those aged 18 to 25 (6.1 percent) or those aged 26 or older (4.9 percent) to smoke pipes during the past month.


End Notes
1 Baker, F., Ainsworth, S.R., Dye, J.T., Crammer, C., Thun, M.J., Hoffman, D., Repace, J.L., Henningfield, J.E., Slade, J., Pinney, J., Shanks, T., Burns, D.M., Connolly, G.N., & Shopland, D.R. (2000). Health risks associated with cigar smoking. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284, 735-740.
2 Because estimates of new use are based on retrospective reports, the most recent year available for 2000 data is 1999.


Figure Notes
Source (all figures): SAMHSA 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA).


The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The 2000 data are based on information obtained from nearly 72,000 persons aged 12 or older. The survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at their place of residence.

The NHSDA Report is prepared by the Office of Applied Studies (OAS), SAMHSA, and by RTI in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Information and data for this issue are based on the following publication and statistics:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2001). Summary of findings from the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Series: H-13, DHHS Publication No. SMA 01-3549). Rockville, MD: Author.

Also available on-line: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh.htm

Additional tables 2.1B; 2.2B; 2.3B; 2.4B; 2.8B; 2.9B; 2.40B; 2.41B; 2.42B; 2.43B from http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda/2kdetailedtabs/Vol_1_Part_2/V1P2.htm and

4.18A from http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda/2kdetailedtabs/Vol_1_Part_3/V1P3a.htm

Additional table upon request.

Figure 5. Percentages of Past Month Cigar Users Reporting Past Month Use of Other Tobacco Products: 2000

Figure 5.  Percentages of Past Month Cigar Users Reporting Past Month Use of Other Tobacco Products: 2000
The NHSDA Report is published periodically by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from SAMHSA. Additional copies of this fact sheet may be downloaded from Other reports from the Office of Applied Studies are also available on-line on the OAS home page: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov

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