Video by Kerri McCune/CNS-TV
Baltimore– Tobacco use is on the rise among Maryland’s teens, but cigarettes are not the problem. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, cigarette smoking has decreased among high school students by nearly 40 percent since 2000, but cigar smoking has increased by more than 11 percent.
The department believes that cigars are enticing to youths because they come in a variety of flavors. More than 76 percent of high schools using cigars are smoking flavored cigars.
“The package says it’s mild and it’s sweet and it’s satisfying. But I don’t know anyone who’s gonna be satisfied with developing lung cancer,” said Dr. Donald Shell, Interim Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Education, about a box of flavored cigars.
Flavored cigars are also inexpensive. They can be purchased individually at around $0.70 each, which is less than a candy bar.
On November 17, the department announced that through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act it will launch a media campaign in December, The Cigar Trap. The campaign will spread awareness about cigar use to teens and their parents through billboards and radio and print ads.