- Flavors have fueled the popularity of cigars among youth. Flavors improve the taste and mask the harshness of tobacco, making flavored tobacco products more appealing and easier for beginners, who are often youth, to smoke. Flavors in cigars increase youth initiation and progression to regular use and are associated with greater potential for addiction. The majority of youth who have smoked cigars started with a flavored cigar. Nearly three-quarters of youth who smoke cigars said they did so “because they come in flavors I like.” The most popular cigar brands among youth come in an array of candy and fruit flavors. Of concern, flavors can create the impression that a product is less harmful than it really is.
- Cigar smoking harms health. Cigar smoke is composed of the same toxic and carcinogenic constituents found in cigarette smoke. Cigar smoking causes cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and lungs, and daily cigar smokers have an increased risk of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and aortic aneurysm. The U.S. Surgeon General has warned that youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe, can cause addiction and can harm adolescent brain development.
- Flavored cigars are marketed in ways that appeal to youth. Cigar makers use a variety of marketing strategies to attract young people, including shiny, colorful packaging that boldly communicates sweet flavors, engaging in popular social media trends, sponsoring concerts and other events, recruiting celebrities for endorsements and keeping prices low. Cigars are promoted through in-store displays, in magazines, and with branded merchandise and rewards programs. Many of these strategies are used to promote cigars, specifically in Black communities.
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