Close, but no cigar: certain cigars are pseudo-cigarettes designed to evade regulation
An abundance of evidence suggests that the tobacco industry's response to increased regulation imposed on cigarettes has been the development of little cigars and filtered cigars which are tobacco products that are merely cigarettes in disguise. Emphasising these products' physical attributes, the tobacco industry has offered cigar products to its consumers as pseudo-cigarettes. For decades, tobacco manufacturers' response to increased cigarette regulation and taxation has been to exploit policy loopholes by offering these little cigars and filtered cigars pseudo-cigarettes that are exempted from this regulatory oversight. As a result, in spite of increased regulations and taxes on cigarettes, smokers can purchase cigars that are almost physically indistinguishable from their cigarettes at a lower cost. This commentary describes the recent evolution of the cigar market in response to federal regulation, and highlights historical cigar industry attempts to evade taxation, capitalise on product features that are off-limits to cigarettes, and capture the shrinking market of cigarette smokers. We present the case that little cigars and filtered cigars, differing very little physically from cigarettes, are products deserving the same regulatory scrutiny.