High Number of Teenagers Experimenting with Cigarillos

    Canadian Cancer Society Calls for Ban on Flavoured Cigarillos

    TORONTO, June 23 /CNW/ - A high number of teenagers are experimenting
with cigarillos, according to the results of the latest Youth Smoking Survey
released today.
    "These results are disturbing," says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy
Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. "Cigarillos are appealing to teenagers
because they come in flavours such as fruit, candy and ice cream. The Canadian
Cancer Society calls for federal and provincial legislation to curb the use of
these tobacco products among Canadian youth, including banning flavoured
    The findings show that teenagers in Grades 10-12 use cigars and
cigarillos the most. Thirty-five per cent said they had tried cigars,
cigarillos and little cigars (39.5 per cent were boys and 30 per cent were
girls), while 48 per cent had tried cigarettes.
    "Teenagers are very vulnerable to trying tobacco products," says
Cunningham. "There is a risk that cigarillos, which can be just as addictive
as cigarettes, could be a starter product for kids who would never start
    He adds that cigarillos can be cheaper to buy than cigarettes because
they come in smaller quantities and are easier to obtain because they are not
regulated in the same way. As well, the health warnings on cigarillos are much
less prominent and there are no health warnings at all on individually
packaged cigarillos.
    The findings come from the 2006-2007 Youth Smoking Survey released today
by the University of Waterloo. About 71,000 students in Grades 5 to 12 in
467 schools across Canada were surveyed during the 2006-2007 school year. The
survey, funded by Health Canada, was conducted by the Centre for Behavioural
Research and Program Evaluation (CBRPE) and collaborators in each province.
CBRPE is a Canadian Cancer Society-funded program at the University of
    Recently, two private member's bills have been introduced to respond to
this issue. On June 16, a federal private member's bill was introduced in the
House of Commons seeking to ban flavoured cigarillos and other tobacco
products. This follows a private member's bill introduced May 7 in the Nova
Scotia legislature to ban flavoured cigarillos.
    "These bills are steps in the right direction," says Cunningham.
"Hopefully momentum will continue to build for this important issue that
directly affects the health of teenagers."
    Cigars and cigarillos are rolls of tobacco wrapped in tobacco leaf paper.
Smoking cigars and cigarillos increases a person's risk of cancer of the
mouth, throat, larynx, lung and esophagus.
    Health Canada reports a significant growth in sales in cigarillos over
the past five years. In 2001, about 50,000 cigarillos were sold. More than
80 million were sold in 2006.
    The survey also shows that for Canadian youth in Grades 5-9 (about ages
10-14) the steady decline in smoking that has been seen in recent years may
have stalled.
    "We're also very concerned that the significant decline in youth smoking
rates may have stalled," says Cunningham. "Every effort must be made to
prevent teenagers from starting to smoke. It could save lives."
    The Youth Smoking Survey has been used to monitor tobacco use since 1994.
The survey results help aid in developing, implementing and evaluating tobacco
control strategies, policies and programs for young people.
    The full 2006-2007 survey is available at http://www.yss.uwaterloo.ca/

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of
volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of
the quality of life of people living with cancer. It is the largest national
charitable funder of cancer research in Canada. Last year, the Society funded
more than $49.5 million in leading-edge research projects across the country.
When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at www.cancer.ca or
call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

    Background: UW researcher worried that youth survey finds smoking rates
may have flatlined, University of Waterloo, June 23, 9:30 a.m. 2008.

For further information:

For further information: Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian
Cancer Society, (613) 565-2522, ext. 305; Alexa Giorgi, Bilingual
Communications Specialist, (416) 934-5681

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