Impact of Blunts/Marijuana on Markets for Low-Cost Cigars

Bruce D. Johnson, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Stephen J. Sifaneck, N.D.R.I., Inc.
Eloise Dunlap, N. D. R. I., Inc.
Andrew Lang Golub, N. D. R. I., Inc.

The use of blunts (marijuana wrapped in shells of low cost cigars) has become so widespread in New York City (and elsewhere) that one aspect of the tobacco market is being strongly affected--that for low cost cigars and wraps. Several preliminary findings from a NIDA-funded study of blunts suggest the following. Most specialty cigar stores sell higher cost ()usually $3 or more) tobacco leaf cigar and usually do not display or sell low cost cigars--and are usually not patronized by blunt smokers. On the other hand, blunt smokers constitute a significant share of the purchasers of low cost (~$1) cigars and cigarillos. Blunt users prefer Philly Blunt, Dutch Master, White Owl (preferred brands) to cut open, insert marijuana, and smoke bia deep inhalation (like joints). Low-cost cigars or cigarillos are often subsequently used as "chasers" to enhance the high following blunt consumption. In addition, a new product has energed: Blunt Wraps are literally a shell composed of tobacco/paper/glue and sold in a more limited range of stores. Often manufactured in foreign countries, many low cost cigars and blunt wraps are flavored (chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, cognac) to appeal to younger smokers. In am important way, the current sustained popularity for blunts has become a market of considerable importance to producers of low-cost cigar tobacco products. Interestingly, increased taxes imposed upon cigarettes in New York City have not been specifically imposed upon such low-cost cigars or blunt wraps.

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Updated 05/20/2006