Kids these days. Always after the latest, hippest way to get cancer, no? According to a report by the New York Times, that way is apparently through smoking flavored cigars. While the 2009 law banning flavored cigarettes was supposed to close an important gateway for young potential smokers, it seems that as long as there is flavored tobacco available in some form, kids will want to puff on it. They're lured by flavors friendly to a youthful palette like chocolate and grape, as well as cheap prices. In the past decade, cigar sales have doubled — while cigarette sales have decreased by a third. According to the Times, while the price points may be different, the health risks are similar for both.
While a lot of this article had us raising our eyebrows (like the Times' delayed discovery that people roll blunts with cigar paper), it's upsetting that tobacco companies are finding ways to circumvent the cigarette regulations. And, at these low prices, it's clear that it's not just youth being targeted — it's the poor. While cigarettes may be too expensive for many to keep up with, cigars are so cheap that many people can buy them with pocket change. It's an appealing alternative — and, with the added benefit of flavor, plus little publicity around the the health risks, this trend feels disturbingly inevitable.
photo: via the new york times.