Objective: Youth use of cigars has increased in the USA. Understanding brand preference among youth could help explain the attraction to cigars, and develop prevention strategies. This study reports on youth characteristics associated with preferences for cigar brands.
Design: Data are presented on 5006 students in grades 7–12 (ages 12–18 years) in classrooms administered the cigar use reasons evaluation (CURE), a questionnaire assessing alternative tobacco use (cigars, bidis, and kreteks).
Setting: Twelve middle and high schools across Massachusetts.
Main outcome measures: Preferred brands of cigars.
Results: Cigar smoking was reported by 16.4% of the sample. The brands preferred by over 5% of cigar users were Phillies (overall prevalence: 31.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 27.9% to 34.3%), Black & Mild (12.3%, 95% CI 9.8% to 15.4%), Garcia y Vega (11.4%, 95% CI 9.3% to 13.8%), Swisher Sweets (9.6%, 95% CI 7.6% to 12.2%), Backwoods (6.1%, 95% CI 4.6% to 8.1%), and non-listed brands (16.4%, 95% CI 14.0% to 19.0%). Male cigar smokers were significantly more likely than females to prefer five brands: Backwoods, Dutch Masters, Garcia y Vega, Phillies, and Swisher Sweets, while females were more likely to prefer Black & Mild and non-listed brands. Brand preferences were also distinguished by self, friends' and siblings' tobacco use, race/ethnicity, parents' education and cigar use, GPA (grade point average), college plans, and community type. Urban students were more likely to prefer Black & Mild; students whose parents smoke cigars preferred non-listed brands.
Conclusions: Youth prefer certain brands, most notably Phillies. Particular brands are preferred by particular youth subgroups, raising the possibility of selective marketing toward these groups.