Cigars a hit with kids

Small flavored cigars are popular among high-school teens, study finds

Compact cigars flavored like candy or fruit are popular with teenagers, a new study finds.

About 1 in 30 middle and high-school students reported smoking the small cigars in a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of about 19,000 students in grades six through 12, according to The Associated Press. For high-school seniors, that ratio was nearly 1 in 12.

Though the sale of cigarettes with candy, fruit and clove flavorings was banned by the federal government in 2009, there is no restriction on cigars with such flavors except in New York City, Providence, R.I., and the state of Maine.

The tobacco industry has maintained that it opposes smoking by those under 18 years old, while critics say the industry has a history of targeting children with flavored products.

In general, the sale of regular and small cigars has more than doubled over the past 12 years, according to data from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.