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Increase in cigar smoking worries anti-tobacco lobby

Quebec's anti-tobacco lobby called yesterday for a renewed government offensive against the carcinogenic leaf in light of a new study showing cigar consumption has surpassed cigarette consumption among Quebec high school students.

For the first time in Quebec, more young people reported smoking cigars or cigarillos in the 12 months before October 2006 than reported smoking cigarettes.

New data made public yesterday by the Institut de la statistique du Quebec show high schoolers are more apt to play poker for money (15 per cent of respondents) or smoke cigars or cigarillos (22 per cent) than smoke cigarettes (14.9 per cent).

By comparison, 30.4 per cent of high schoolers in 1998 reported smoking cigarettes, vs. 14.3 per cent who used cigars or cigarillos.

The survey found 46 per cent of respondents said they smoked cigars or cigarillos about twice a month, while 11 per cent reported smoking one or the other daily.

The Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac said the main problem is that stores are allowed to sell cigarillos individually, for what is emerging as a going rate of $1. This encourages occasional consumption among teenagers, which in turn increases the potential for addiction to nicotine, the group said.

Source: Montreal Gazette