Rebellious Teens Turn to ... Cigars?

Cigarette use down, other kinds of smoking up
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2013 12:04 AM CST
Cigar enthusiast Brendan Glennon poses with a display of candy-flavored cigars at a custom tobacco shop in Albany, NY.   (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
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(Newser) – Cigarette use is down among teenagers, but many of them have discovered different ways of smoking tobacco, with cigar and even hookah use on the rise among high school students, a government survey finds. The percentage of cigar-smoking high-school students rose from 11.6% to 12.6% last year, while cigarette smoking dropped from 15.8% to 14%. Unlike cigarettes, cigars can still be sold in a wide variety of flavors—including candy—and can be sold individually, reports the Wall Street Journal. E-cigarette use is also on the rise among high school students, with around 10% having tried them, double the rate of a year earlier.

Cigarillos and small, cigarette-sized cigars are especially popular among teens, warn health officials, who are looking into tighter regulations. Cigar smoking is especially popular among African-American high school students, with 16.7% smoking them—almost double the proportion that smoke cigarettes. A study last year found that cigars are more available and more heavily marketed in black neighborhoods. "What we're really seeing is pretty extensive marketing, taking advantage that these products are not regulated the same as cigarettes," says a researcher from the anti-tobacco group Legacy, which carried out the study.

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