One in 30 middle school and high school student smoke small flavored cigars, according to a new study.
The CDC study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that smoking rates for the cigars — often given candy or fruit-like flavors — appears to increases as kids age, with one in 12 high school seniors reporting smoking them.
The findings are based on a 2011 survey of 19,000 adolescents in grades 6 through 12. Flavored cigarettes have been banned since 2009, but public health experts say the tobacco industry has skirted around the law by making flavored cigars that look like cigarettes in shape and size. Although the tobacco industry says it does not market to children under age 18, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said promoting flavored products suggests companies are targeting younger smokers, the Associated Press reports.
According to data from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy and research organization, flavored cigar sales have bumped from 6 billion to 13 billion over the last 12 years.