Flavored cigar use rising among school-age children

Concerns that habit is dangerous for teens


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new CDC report is raising concerns about teenagers and flavored cigars. The first of its kind study shows that about one of every thirty middle-schoolers admits to smoking the cigars, that have fruit and candy flavor added.

Ethel Morales was alarmed. "I think that's terrible" she said.

Bonnie Miller is very concerned. "I work in a cancer ward. I've seen so much cancer, lung cancer, lip cancer... anything with smoking is terrible."

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.  But are they safe?

Dr. Harold Laski thinks they're popular because people don't see them as dangerous. They think its safer because you don't inhale. "They're actually more dangerous because more children are going to use them." Plus, he points out, the smoke in your mouth causes everything from lip cancer, to mouth cancer, even tooth decay.

An earlier trend similar to this one was flavored cigarettes. People feared they would cause teen addiction, so they were banned back in 2009. But for the time being at least, flavored cigars remain legal to sell.