Many Americans Giving Up Cigarettes For Cigars

By Amir Khan on August 3, 2012 10:06 AM EDT

Smoking
Although more and more Americans are giving up cigarettes, many people are turning to cigars and pipes instead, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Photo: Reuters)

Although more and more Americans are giving up cigarettes, many people are turning to cigars and pipes instead, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings suggest that getting people to give up tobacco entirely may be more difficult than previously thought.

Between 2000 and 2011, consumption of smoked tobacco products decreased 27.5 percent. However, over that same timespan, consumption of non-cigarette tobacco products increased 123 percent. The major culprit, the report says, is price.

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"This report demonstrates that the the tobacco industry is as resourceful, and as predatory, as ever," Thomas Glynn, director of international cancer control at the American Cancer Society, told USA Today. "It also provides us with some insight into the tobacco industry's future plans. When manufactured cigarettes may, at some point in the future, no longer be their primary source of income, they will look to other ways - such as cigars, roll-your-own, various forms of smokeless tobacco - of maintaining their customer's nicotine dependence."

In 2009, the government enacted a federal excise tax that resulted in pipe tobacco, loose tobacco and cigars being taxed at a significantly lower rate than cigarettes. This led to cigarette manufacturers selling small cigars, which resembled cigarettes, for much cheaper; $1.40 per pack compared to $5 per pack.

"The rise in cigar smoking, which other studies show is a growing problem among youth and young adults, is cause for alarm," Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said, according to Fox News.

Smoking kills over 400,000 people a year, about 1,200 daily, and the earlier smokers start the more likely they are to die from smoking-related diseases. More than 80 percent of smokers start before age 18 and 99 percent start by age 26.

Smoking can cause a myriad of health problems including stroke, heart disease, chronic lung problems, and various cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking costs the United States $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in lost productivity every year.

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