209076 Baltimore's effort to ban the selling of small cigars individually

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:42 AM

Frances Stillman, EdD , Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Lee Bone, MPH, RN , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Erika Avilla-Tang, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore has a serious smoking problem. A survey of 331, black urban young adults found smoking rates of 57% (73% of males and 45% of females). While the sale of single cigarettes is banned, stores are legally allowed to break open packs of little cigars to sell them individually for as little as 69 cents each, making their purchase especially easy for those with limited amounts of money. Almost 22% of the survey population smoked little cigars (28% of males and 16% of females). Many of these young people smoked both cigarettes and small cigars, often switching between these products. However, about 8% said they only smoked little cigars (10% males and 6% of females). These individuals did not consider themselves to be smokers and thought the health risks were lower for little cigars than for cigarettes. Single little cigars do not have to have a health warning and this maybe associated with the lower level of knowledge of the health risks. Among the group who use little cigars, 44% use these products to enhance the effects of other smoked substances including marijuana. Baltimore City Health officials alarmed by these survey results and the growing popularity of these little cigars worked with researchers and the community in an effort to ban the common practice of breaking open little cigar packages to sell them individually. This presentation will discuss the survey results as well as the community participatory actions taken to address this problem.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe results of a survey conducted among black, urban young adult that identified the use of little cigars as a problematic behavior. 2. Identify factors related to the high smoking rates in this population. 3. Discuss the actions to taken to ban the sale of single small cigars in Baltimore.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Conducted the research for this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.