Here's the thing about kids (and this goes for little ones all the way up through teens): If something tastes/smells/looks sorta kinda like candy, they're gonna want it. Simple as that. Even if that something is ... a cigar. Now, I know what you're thinking -- there's not enough sugary sweetness on the planet to mask the old man stench of a cigar (or maybe that's just what I'm thinking, as I've never been much of a fan). But a recent government study found that about 1 in 30 middle and high school kids smoke or have smoked small fruit- or candy-flavored cigars; according to the CDC, this number increases to nearly 1 in 12 for high school seniors. Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar, apparently.
Sadly, I can't say I'm particularly surprised by this study -- not as a former teen, anyway. I mean, remember wine coolers and those strawberry-flavored hangovers of doom?? As the mother of a seventh grader, however, I am rather dismayed. It's not that I'm particularly worried my daughter will start smoking -- the smell of cigarette smoke makes her gag, and I can't imagine the scent of vanilla (or whatever) flavored cigars won't do the same. This study, for me, just serves as one more reminder of how many harmful substances are available to kids and how easy it is to get hooked. Sure, cigars are illegal to sell to minors, but so is alcohol and so are cigarettes, and kids have always gotten their hands on those (and always will).
I don't know if tobacco companies truly are trying to entice underage smokers with products like these, but if they are? That's just diabolically messed up. (So, yes, they probably are doing this on purpose.) Maybe flavored cigars SHOULD be banned, as some suggest -- I truly can't imagine the average teen/tween experimenting with regular old grandpa-stinky cigars. Besides, the things must be absolutely vile! I can't imagine any adult smokers would actually miss candy-flavored cigars if they were pulled off the shelves.
Do you think candy-flavored cigars should be banned?
Image via Dennis Yang/Flickr