Document Type


Journal Title

Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Publication Date





INTRODUCTION: Cigars are currently the second-highest-used combustible tobacco product among U.S. adults, but knowledge about health effects of premium cigars versus other cigar subtype use is limited.

AIMS AND METHODS: This study analyzed the biospecimen data (n = 31 875) from Waves 1-5 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, collected during 2013-2019. Multivariable generalized estimation equations, accounting for within-person clustering, were conducted to examine differences in urine biomarkers of exposure (BOE) from five classes of harmful and potentially harmful constituents along with a biomarker of oxidative stress (urine 8-isoprostane) among exclusive users of premium cigars versus other exclusive cigar subtypes (ie, non-premium large cigars, cigarillos, and filtered cigars), cigarettes, and non-tobacco users.

RESULTS: In comparison to non-tobacco users, exclusive premium cigar users had higher geometric mean concentrations of the nicotine metabolite cotinine (5.8 vs. 0.5ng/mg, p < .0001), tobacco-specific nitrosamine (TSNA) (4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL): 7.8 vs. 1.3pg/mg, p < .0001), and volatile organic compound (VOC) (N-Acetyl-S-(2-cyanoethyl)-L-cysteine (CYMA, acrylonitrile): 4.7 vs. 1.6ng/mg, p < .0001). Exclusive premium cigar users were less likely to be daily users than other tobacco user groups and had comparable BOEs with exclusive non-premium large cigar users but generally lower BOEs than exclusive cigarillo, filtered cigar, and cigarette smokers. Daily exclusive premium cigar users had similar nicotine and TSNA exposure but lower exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds than exclusive cigarillo and filtered cigar users.

CONCLUSIONS: Premium cigar use exhibits different exposure to toxicants from other cigar subtype users. Regulations of premium cigars need to formalize product definition and take the population's health effects into consideration.

IMPLICATIONS: This population study provides important information on BOE and potential harm with premium cigar use and its potential health effects. At present, premium cigars appear to pose a relatively low overall population health risk due to low frequency of use. However, future regulation of other tobacco products might change the landscape of premium cigar use and alter the overall health impact.

MeSH Headings

Adult, Humans, Nicotine, Smoking, Tobacco Products, Tobacco, Biomarkers, Nitrosamines, Oxidative Stress



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