Small Cigars Enjoyed by Teens: Study [AUDIO]
Small, flavored cigars are popular among teenagers, according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors admitted usage. The rate dropped to 1 in 30 when considering every middle school and high school student.
Products like Swisher Sweets and Black & Mild are available in flavors such as strawberry, grape and chocolate.
"We know that flavors can mask the harshness and taste of tobacco, and that makes them easier to use and increases their appeal among youth," said Dr. Brian King, the study's author.
The government banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, with the exception of menthol. However, such regulation was not implemented among cigars and electronic cigarettes.
Dr. King said teens shouldn't mistake flavored cigars as a safe alternative to traditional smoking.
"Little cigars contain the same toxic and cancer-causing compounds that are found in cigarettes," he said.
He noted the product's price may also be appealing to today's youth. They are taxed at a lower rate than cigarettes and are available for purchase as singles or doubles.
According to the CDC, more than 40 percent of current young smokers have used flavored cigars or cigarettes.
Recent research suggests sales of cigars have skyrocketed in the last 12 years.