Flavored small cigars are popular with kids, study finds

by Mike Stobbe

Small cigars flavored to taste like candy or fruit are popular among U.S. teens, according to the first government study to gauge their use.

About 1 in 30 middle and high school said they smoke the compact, sweet-flavored cigars. The percentages rise as kids get older, to nearly 1 in 12 , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The results—based on a 2011 survey of nearly 19,000 students, grades 6 through 12—were published online Tuesday by the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Since 2009, the government has banned cigarettes with candy, fruit and clove flavoring, though it continued to allow menthol flavoring. Only three states have restrictions on the sales of cigars with such flavorings.

The sale of cigarettes and cigars to those under 18 is illegal, but according to an earlier CDC report, about 16 percent of were smokers in 2011.

Health officials say sweet flavoring can mask the harsh taste of tobacco and make smoking more palatable.

"The so-called small cigars look like cigarettes, addict as much as cigarettes and they kill like cigarettes," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

Tobacco companies have said they oppose smoking by those under age 18. But the marketing of flavored cigars suggests companies are trying to interest kids in smoking, Frieden and others said.

"The tobacco industry has a long history of using flavored products to attract kids," said Danny McGoldrick, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy and research organization.

Sales of regular and flavored cigars have boomed in the last 12 years, from 6 billion to more than 13 billion annually, according to calculations by his group.

The CDC survey also asked about menthol-flavored cigarettes. When those were included, more than 40 percent of kids who were current smokers in the survey said they were using flavored cigars or .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US: Menthol cigarettes likely pose health risk

Jul 23, 2013

(AP)—A Food and Drug Administration review concludes that menthol cigarettes likely pose a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes but does not make a recommendation on whether to limit or ban the minty smokes—one ...

Health groups protest new Camel magazine ads

May 30, 2013

The American Heart Association, American Lung Association and several other health groups are asking at least two state attorneys to investigate a new Camel cigarette ad campaign.

Recommended for you

Possible risk of folic acid overexposure

7 minutes ago

A new study has shown that synthetic folic acid, the form taken in folic acid supplements we can buy over the counter, is not processed by the body in the same way as natural folates, the form found in green vegetables.

Is coffee aggravating your hot flashes?

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Drinking caffeine may worsen the hot flashes and night sweats that affect roughly two-thirds of women as they go through menopause, new survey data suggests.

AAFP: family docs report potential misuse of MGMA data

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Reports from family physicians have been received that employers may be misusing survey data to set higher compensation rates for general internal physicians than for family physicians, according ...

User comments