The FDA proposed a standard for tobacco products this May that would ban characterizing flavors in cigars. Flavors such as cocoa, coffee, strawberry, and grape increase the appeal of cigars to young people. More than half a million youth and young adults consume flavored cigar products. An added flavor enhances the cigar’s taste and makes it easier to consume.
The National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that 2.1% or 310,000 of students in grades 9-12 smoked cigars (1.5% of females and 2.6% of males). The same study states that 0.6% of middle school students have smoked cigars (0.5% of females and 0.6% of males).
The proposed standard aims to reduce the appeal of cigars to teens and young adults. And thereby reducing the likelihood of further experimentation with tobacco products and the development of nicotine addiction.
The development of this proposal is based on a review of the scientific evidence on the role of added flavors in increasing the appeal of tobacco products.
In cigars, the chemicals produced when flavors are heated or burned can cause additional toxicity. For example, toxic chemical compounds were found in the pyrolysis of 18 different artificial flavor additives.
This standard is expected to have public health benefits by preventing the initiation of cigar smoking and addiction amongst youth and young adults.
We believe that artificial flavors make cigars appealing for the wrong reasons, especially when it comes to vulnerable populations. Cigars are not like ice cream or pudding. Young people have fallen for the characteristic flavor and are looking for that flavor, which is far from the cigar culture. We discourage underage from smoking any tobacco products.