Young people smoke cigars, too
Three major types of cigars are sold in the United States including, large cigars, cigarillos, and little cigars and have gown in popularity among youth.
In 2022, cigars were the second most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students. The availability of flavors in cigars that are prohibited in cigarettes (such as cherry), and the fact that they are commonly sold as a single stick, make these products appealing to youth.
In 2021, among middle and high school students who used cigars in the past 30 days, 44.4% reported using a flavored cigar during that time.
Historically, cigar smoking in the United States has been a behavior of older men, but the industry’s increased marketing of these products to targeted groups increased the prevalence of use among adolescents.
Cigar use is higher among youth who use other tobacco products or other drugs (e.g., alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants) than among youth who do not use these products.
What to look for
The giant stogie you remember from old movies still exists, but today’s kids have traded it in for cigar products that come in many other shapes and sizes. Many look just like cigarettes.
Some of the health risks
Most of us are familiar with the many serious health risks associated with smoking cigarettes. Smoking cigars is just as dangerous and can negatively impact every organ in a young person’s body.
Share what you've learned
Research shows that kids are more likely to avoid risky behaviors when they have an open, trusting relationship with parents and other caregivers, so talk to your kids about cigar products and share what you know with parents, teachers, and others.
You can tell your kids:
Don’t be fooled by those sweet flavors. Flavors like strawberry, sour apple, and chocolate can give the impression that flavored cigars, little cigars, and cigarillos are milder versions of conventional tobacco, but sweet and minty flavors just help mask the harsh taste of cigar smoke—making cigar products easier to use, but not safe.
Smoking cigars isn’t a popular move. It’s natural for kids to want to keep up with their friends and classmates. Unfortunately, young people often overestimate just how popular tobacco is among their peers. Remind your child that most Missouri teens choose to live tobacco free. In fact, 95% of Missouri high schoolers aren’t smoking cigars.
Cheaper doesn’t mean less potent. Because they’re often sold as singles, cigar products can be surprisingly cheap, but a low price doesn’t necessarily mean less tobacco, fewer chemicals, or less harm done. A single, large cigar can contain an entire cigarette pack's worth of tobacco.
Cigars aren’t a safe alternative to cigarettes. No tobacco product is safe. Smoking cigars kills about 9,000 people in the U.S. each year. The nicotine in cigar products can harm an adolescent’s growing brain, and cigar smoke contains many of the same toxic, cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes.
Make Sure Others Know
More Products, More Risks
Tobacco keeps changing. Learn more about the other addictive tobacco products that are endangering the health of Missouri's youth.
Help decrease the appeal of little cigars
Most little cigars look just like cigarettes, but in Missouri, they’re taxed at a much lower rate. That price difference makes little cigars an appealing, affordable, option for young people on a budget. Find out how you can support comprehensive tobacco policies for a healthier state and take action in your own community.