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LOS ANGELES -- Cigarette sales continued to decline 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, but data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the drop was offset by increases in sales of cigars and loose tobacco, according to a Los Angeles Times report. As a result, overall tobacco consumption dropped only 0.8 percent during that time frame, the agency reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The 2009 increase in the federal tobacco excise tax on cigarettes that made them more expensive than cigars and loose tobacco is a likely factor in the change, according to the report. The prohibition of adding menthol and other additives to cigarettes are also more lenient for non-cigarette tobacco products.
Overall tobacco consumption fell 27.5 percent from 2000 to 2011, from 450.7 billion cigarette equivalents to 326.6 billion, according to the news outlet. The proportion of non-cigarette combustible tobacco products increased from 3.4 percent to 10.4 percent during the same time period.
Additionally, sales of pipe tobacco increased by 482 percent, and sales of large cigars increased by 233 percent. However, some of these increases are likely due to changing a product's label to that of an item taxed at a lower rate, such as relabeling roll-your-own tobacco as pipe tobacco. Some manufacturers also increased the size of their small cigars, previously classified as cigarettes, to qualify as large cigars and a lower tax rate.