In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration moved to ban flavored cigarettes in an effort to curb youth smoking. Well, they were only partially successful. Industry sales number show that while cigarette sales have dropped by a third, sales of flavored cigars and loose tobacco have doubled. Those products now make up about 10 percent of the market and one in six smokers between the ages of 18 and 24 smoke cigars as opposed to just two percent of smokers over 65.
Even more telling, more than 50 percent of young smokers use flavored cigars and many of them are said be poorer and less educated. Another interesting factoid is that according to a 2003 survey, those who smoke cigars also smoke marijuana and some 20 percent of middle and high schoolers used the cigars to smoke marijuana. They usually do this by emptying the cigar and refilling the outer layer with marijuana.
These numbers have now become prevalent enough to actually get the FDA to finally act and it would appear they plan to try and ban flavored tobacco products in some way. When they passed the original ban in 2009, they only specified flavored cigarettes, which left the other products open and untouched.
For the moment, there products will continue to be sold as the FDA has only sent out warning letters to manufacturers. Until they actually issue new guidelines nothing will change.
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