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Cigar Flavors Draw In Young Smokers

Update Date: Aug 19, 2013 10:49 AM EDT

When it comes to foods, drinks and candy, people love having different flavors to choose from. The desire to taste different flavors does not disappear when it comes to non-food items such as smoking and drinking. In a new report, researchers stated that ever since the government has banned flavored cigarettes with the hopes of deterring young people from picking up the habit, the market for flavored cigars has only grown.

Back in 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a law that prohibited using flavors in cigarettes. The law did not specify whether or not flavoring in other products, such as cigars should be banned as well. Since this landmark law was passed, no new legislation from Congress or from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was passed to regulate flavored cigars. Now, despite the reduction in cigarette sales by a third over the past 10 years, sales in cheap alternatives have doubled. According to federal data, the sales of loose tobacco and cigars increased and now make up 10 percent of all tobacco products sold in this country. From 2000 to 2011, there was a three percent increase in sales.

"The 20th century was the cigarette century, and we worked very hard to address that," said Gregory N. Connolly, the director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the Harvard School of Public Health according to the New York Times. "Now the 21st century is about multiple tobacco products. They're cheap. They're flavored. And some of them you can use anywhere."

According to statistics, around one in every six young adults from the age group of 18 to 24 smoke cigars while only two percent of people over 65 do. Over 50 percent of young adults smoke flavored cigars with the majority of them being poor and less educated individuals. Aside from the fact that cigars tend to be more popular amongst young people with lower financial means, a 2003 survey found that people who purchase cigars tend to also smoke marijuana. In this survey, the researchers had found that 20 percent of middle and high school students smoked marijuana using cigar wrappers.

Now, after four years, the FDA has announced that it plans on exerting its authority over these alternative tobacco products. The agency has already sent warning letters to companies regarding the roll-your-own tobacco product. Even though the FDA has decided to regulate these tobacco products, critics have stated that it was about time the agency stepped up. Cigar producers are also anticipating these new regulations. However, until the FDA creates these new laws and guidelines, flavored cigars will still be readily available as a cheap alternative for young smokers. 

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