New Study Shows Significant Rise in Cigar Use Among Young

Written by admin   // September 20, 2011   // 0 Comments

Usage of Cigarillos, Little Cigar Products Soars

WASHINGTON/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – A new
study in October  issue of the American Journal of Public Healthmeasures
brand usage trends and the prevalence of cigar use among specific populations.
The study, funded by Legacy, the nation’s largest organization devoted to
tobacco use prevention and cessation, is the first of its kind.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101101/DC86294LOGO)

Cigars and  cigarillos have become an emerging issue in tobacco control in recent years, in
part because of their appeal to young people through lower prices and sweet
flavors. Little cigars are similar in size and appearance to cigarettes. Unlike
cigarettes, which are wrapped in white paper, little cigars are wrapped in a
brown, paper-like substance that contains some tobacco leaf. Cigarillos are
longer, slimmer versions of a large cigar. Increased use of these products is of
particular concern, as users may believe that cigarillos and little cigars are
less harmful than cigarettes. However, like cigarettes, cigars and affiliated
products pose significant health risks, contributing to cancers of the mouth,
lung, esophagus, and larynx and possibly contributing to the development of
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“The  increased use of these products is extremely troubling. Little cigars and
cigarillos are obviously a serious public health threat and this study confirms
the products are popular among both young adults and minorities,” said Dr.
Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Legacy. “While
much effort has been focused over the past decade to increasing awareness about
cigarettes and the dangers of smoking, cigar products have emerged as a
profitable product for tobacco companies that, unlike cigarettes, are currently
unregulated by the FDA and are taxed at a much lower rate. Unfortunately, young
adults are taking the bait and the growth in this market is a troubling concern
for the public health.”

The study,  Seven-Year Patterns in US Cigar Use Epidemiology Among
Young Adults Aged 19-25 Years: A Focus on Race/Ethnicity and
Brand,
is the first of its kind on this issue. Results found
that the top five brands most frequently smoked were Black & Mild, Swisher
Sweets, Phillies, White Owl, and Garcia y Vega, all of which are primarily
cigarillos or little cigar products. Use of these top five brands was more
prevalent among those who were younger, male, Black non-Hispanics, with a
propensity for risk behavior, and those reporting current cigarette, marijuana,
and blunt use.

“To our  knowledge, this is the first study founded on U.S. nationally representative
data that documents trends in current cigar use and top brands smoked,” says
co-author and Legacy® researcher Jane Allen. “However, cigarillos are not
currently tracked and measured as a separate cigar category. With these products
increasing in popularity among young adults, further studies about ‘usual brand’
use will increase the accuracy of reports about cigarillo and little cigar use
in the U.S.”

Cigars can be  just as harmful as cigarettes. To date, cigarillos and little cigars are not
regulated compared to cigarettes. In addition, lower taxes on these products
(thus lower price points) may lead smokers to choose cigars and cigarillos over
cigarettes. In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act allowed the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban all flavors of cigarettes except
menthol; however, such restrictions on cigars were not put into place. Cigars
continue to come in a variety of flavors, such as like cherry, chocolate,
vanilla, peach rum, raspberry, and sour apple. Additionally, packaging on these
products does not always carry a warning label, and so health warnings may go
unnoticed by cigar users.

Legacy, the national non-profit organization best known for the award-winning truth® youth
smoking prevention campaign worked with a wide range of organizations to monitor
and bring attention to the rising health risks associated with little cigar
consumption.

Follow us on  Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/LegacyforHealth

Legacy is dedicated to building a world where young
people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the
national public health organization helps Americans live longer, healthier
lives. Legacy develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use,
especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll
of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships,
youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The
foundation’s programs include
truth®, a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has
been cited as having contributed to significant declines in youth smoking;
EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak
to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and
research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to
reducing tobacco use. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of
the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys
general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit
www.legacyforhealth.org.


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