Clove cigar sales following the US flavoured cigarette ban

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Abstract

Background

Following the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in 2009, flavoured cigarettes, including clove cigarettes, were banned based on the rationale that such cigarettes appealed to youth. However, the ban on characterising flavours was not extended to cigars.

Methods

This study reviewed industry documents from Kretek International, the parent company behind Djarum clove cigars, to document the changes in their marketing and production strategies following the flavour ban on cigarettes. To assess sales trends following the ban, data for clove cigar sales in the USA from 2009 to 2012 were analysed using Nielsen's Convenience Track retail scanner database. Additionally, data on tobacco imports to the USA from Indonesia were obtained from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Trade System for the years 2008–2012.

Results

In anticipation of Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) flavour ban on cigarettes and recognising the regulatory advantages of cigars, Kretek International began developing Djarum clove cigars in 2007. Immediately following the flavour ban, sales of this product increased by more than 1400% between 2009 and 2012. During this same period, tobacco imports to the USA from Indonesia, a leader in clove tobacco production, shifted from cigarettes to almost exclusively cigars.

Conclusions

Kretek International, like other tobacco manufacturers, manipulated its products following the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act as a way to capitalise on regulatory loopholes and replace its now banned clove cigarettes. As a result, consumption of the company's Djarum clove cigars increased exponentially in recent years.

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