The results of the 2011 survey showed that 1 out of 30 middle and high school children smoked the sweet-smelling, compact, little cigars. The figures rose to almost 1 in 12 with high school seniors.
The survey covered 19,000 students in grades 6 through 12, and was published online Tuesday by the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Beginning in 2009 the government banned the sale of cigarettes with candy, fruit, or clove flavoring. They still allow menthol flavoring. There is no government restriction on flavorings in cigars, although Maine, New York City and Providence, R.I. have banned the sale of flavored cigars.
Even though the sale of cigarettes and cigars to anyone under the age of 18 is illegal, an earlier report by the CDC showed that in 2011, 16 percent of high school students were smokers.
Health officials say the sweet flavorings in tobacco products mask the harsh taste, making them much more enticing to young people. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said:
"The so-called small cigars look like cigarettes, addict as much as cigarettes and they kill like cigarettes."
A report released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, dated March 7, 2013, and written by Ann Boonn, had these sobering statistics:
The most recent data available show that 13.1 percent of high school students currently smoke cigars (17.8% among boys; 8.0% among girls).
Each day, more than 3,000 kids under 18 years old try cigar smoking for the first time.
Although tobacco companies have repeatedly said they oppose smoking by anyone under the age of 18-years old, the introduction of fruit and candy flavored cigars leads many to believe just the opposite.
Historically, tobacco companies have used the tactic of flavoring tobacco products to entice younger smokers. Danny McGoldrick, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy and research organization, says "sales of regular and flavored cigars have boomed in the last 12 years, from 6 billion to more than 13 billion annually."