Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Rodney Lyn, PhD

Second Advisor

Francesca Lopez, MSPH


Considerable evidence exists that little cigars and cigarillos are popular among young adults and that the prevalence is higher among African American young adults.1,2,4 Two brands of little cigars appear most appealing to young smokers - Swisher Sweets and Black and Mild.2,3 This cigar product have been designed by the tobacco industry to appeal specifically for African Americans. In a survey of tobacco use among freshman at a historically black university, there were high rates of little cigar use.4 Little cigar sales have also benefited from the high visibility offered by many celebrities quoted and photographed with cigars, and the success of Cigar Aficionado and Smoke magazine.5 Perceptions include that smoking little cigars is less addictive and less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and these perceptions may be enforced by students rationalizing that because they smoke fewer cigars than cigarettes, there is less exposure to toxic chemicals. Other perceptions uncovered include that little cigars are less harmful than cigarettes because little cigars are not addressed in antismoking messages.4

A collaboration between Georgia State University Institute of Public Health, Southside Medical Center Accountable Communities Health Together, and the American Legacy Foundation has produced an effort to reduce little cigar and cigarillo use in the NPU-V. The program is known as the Little Cigar Prevention Initiative (LCPI). The primary objective of the collaboration is to engage the community into focus groups, forums, and action teams to: 1) Understand perceptions and use patterns of little cigars/cigarillos among African American young adults and youth 2) Educate the community about dangers of little cigars/cigarillos 3) Understand marketing mechanisms influencing use of little cigars/cigarillos 4) engage NPU-V neighborhoods for action to address marketing, use, and sale of little cigars/cigarillos towards young African Americans 5) Understand important implications for prevention and health promotion in this underserved community.

The first objective of this capstone is to examine the effectiveness of several tobacco control policies in curbing smoking among young people. The second objective of this capstone is to provide information on how communities can increase awareness of key little cigar issues using current tobacco practices in communities. The third objective of this capstone is to provide information how to engage the community in the policy process by providing current successful policies and communities that have enacted policy. Lastly, the final objective is to identify ways to promote cessation efforts. This capstone will serve as a guide for community action in regards to little cigar/cigarillo prevention in the NPU-V. This capstone will produce two products. The first product will be a paper that will cover topics of youth tobacco use, little cigar and cigarillo use, the current state and nature of prevention activities, and recommendations. The second product will be a policy brief to inform the community on the urgency of little cigar/cigarillo prevention and the need to adopt a plan of action.

1. Maxwell JC. . (2009) The Maxwell Report: Year End & Fourth Quarter 2008 Sales Estimates for the Cigarette IndustryRichmond, VA. 2. Soldz S, Huyser DJ, Dorsey E. (2003) Youth preferences for cigar brands: rates of use and characteristics of users. Tobacco Control;12(2):155-60. 3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999)Youth use of cigars: patterns of use and perceptions of risk. Washington (DC): Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. Available at: 4. Jolly D.H. (2008) Exploring the use of little cigars by students at a historically black university. Prev Chronic Disease 2008;5(3). Available: 5. Delnevo C.D., & M. Hrywna. (2007). A Whole ‘Nother Smoke or a Cigarette in Disguise: How R Reynolds Reframed the Image of Little Cigars. American Journal of Public Health. 97, 1368-1375.

Final Draft.pdf (398 kB)
Policy_Brief.pdf (168 kB)

Included in

Public Health Commons