Ad lib Smoking of Black & Mild Cigarillos and Cigarettes

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Over the past 20 years, there has been a tripling in the consumption of small cigars and cigarillos, with further increases expected because cigar products are not subject to Food and Drug Administration regulations. Acute toxin exposure from cigar smoking is difficult to assess because unlike cigarettes, cigars vary widely in size, design, composition, and in the smoking behavior of their consumers. For example, a recent practice among urban youth is to remove the paper liner (i.e., “freaking”) of a small cigar in the belief that it is this paper liner that leads to addiction and cancer.


We examined acute exposure (CO and nicotine boosts) and puffing behavior in 12 participants (10 men) who smoked (ad lib) their usual conventional cigarette, a Black & Mild cigar (B&M) and a B&M without the paper liner (i.e., “freaked” [B&Mf]).


All products (cigarettes, B&M, and B&Mf) significantly increased heart rate and CO with a trend for plasma nicotine. Nicotine boost was significantly higher after cigarette smoking than both B&M and B&Mf, while CO boost was significantly greater after B&M and B&Mf than cigarettes. The CO boost after B&M was larger than after B&Mf.


These findings suggest that small cigar smoking is associated with smoke inhalation that leads to significant exposure to nicotine, CO, and presumably other components of tobacco smoke and that removing the inner liner does not substantially reduce toxin exposure.

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