New Report on Cigar Health Effects

    Photo: Marco Mayer

    The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has published an independent report on the health effects of premium cigars. Commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, the report provides a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on these products.

    For example, the report includes information on short-term and long-term health effects, patterns of use, marketing and perceptions, and product characteristics of premium cigars.

    The early to mid-1990s saw a large surge in U.S. cigar consumption, including premium cigars. Based on recent import data, premium cigar use may be increasing, though premium cigars currently make up a small percent of the total U.S. cigar market.

    Premium cigars have also been the subject of legal and regulatory efforts for the past decade. In 1998, the National Cancer Institute undertook a comprehensive review of available knowledge about cigars—the only one to date. The resulting research recommendations have largely not been addressed, and many of the identified information gaps persist. Furthermore, there is no single, consistent definition of premium cigars, making research challenging.

    In response, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health commissioned the NASEM to convene a committee of experts to address this issue. The resulting report, Premium Cigars: Patterns of Use, Marketing and Health Effects, includes 13 findings, 24 conclusions and nine priority research recommendations and assesses the state of evidence on premium cigar characteristics, current patterns of use, marketing and perceptions of the product, and short-term and long-term health effects.