Watermelon, grape, strawberry-these sound like flavors of candy, but they're actually the flavors of these little cigars. And according to a new study by the CDC they're growing in popularity, especially among kids,
"This is new data, and it's very disturbing. It finds that about 4 out of 10 kids who smoke are smoking flavored little cigars," said Tom Frieden, M.D, the Director of the CDC.
They're cheaper than cigarettes, and you can purchase them at many of the same places. But they're not subjected to the same restrictions. Flavorings other than menthol are banned in regular cigarettes, but not in these little cigars.
"Flavorings do make it easier for people to start to smoke. They mask the harshness of tobacco, and because of that, they're particularly used for kids and they're more likely to result in kids getting addicted," said Frieden.
And kids are getting addicted. Federal data shows sales of cigars and other flavored tobacco products have risen steadily over the past decade, while cigarette sales have fallen. The FDA says it plans to strengthen cigar regulations, but nothing has happened yet.
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