Teen smoking overall is down. That’s the good news. The bad news is that more teenagers are smoking flavored mini-cigars.
In case you’re not familiar with the latest fad in tobacco products, mini-cigars come in flavors like strawberry, watermelon, vanilla, and chocolate, and are wrapped in colorful packages.
And they’re becoming popular partly because young smokers think they look more attractive than regular cigars, but also because teens believe they are less addictive.
Mini-Cigars No Less Addictive
From Kane County Chronicle:
“You have the same cancer-causing chemicals but wrapped in flavors that don’t let you experience the harsh sensation of cigar or tobacco use,” said Donald Shell, interim director for Maryland’s Center for Health Promotion, Education, Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation.
How Many Teenagers Are Smoking?
From The Washington Post:
Nationally, cigar smoking is the second-most-common form of tobacco use among youth, after cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 14 percent of high school students smoke cigars (18.6 percent among boys; 8.8 percent among girls), according to 2009 CDC data.
But in some states, cigar smoking among some youth groups is more popular than cigarette smoking. In Massachusetts, 18 percent of high school boys smoke cigarettes, but 22 percent smoke cigars, according to 2009 CDC data. A study in Ohio found cigars to be the most popular tobacco product among high school students. In New Jersey, researchers found cigarette use dropped by 29 percent between 2001 and 2004, but for the first time ever, more high school boys reported smoking cigars (17.2 percent) than cigarettes (15.9 percent).
In Maryland, another state where the number of young people smoking little cigars has soared, officials are fighting back. Starting next week, the state will launch ads on billboards, buses and trains. The home page of the campaign Web site, thecigartrap.com, shows youngsters running to an ice cream truck with a giant cigar on its roof. “No matter how they sugarcoat it . . . cigars kill,” a warning reads.
Tobacco Manufacturers Trying To Hook Young People?
Hum, could this be another ploy by those tobacco companies to recruit more customers? They understand well that hooking young people to their products early on will probably make them a life-long addict.
The Food and Drug Administration banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, but no such ban applies to cigars. Selling tobacco products to anyone younger than 18 is illegal, but of course not all stores check identification. Are tobacco manufactures exploiting this loophole in the federal ban on flavored cigarettes?
Photo Credit: iStock
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