ATLANTA -- The first study of cigars flavored to taste sweet suggests they're a hit with underage smokers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 30 middle and high school kids say they smoke the compact, candy- or fruit-flavored cigars. The percentages rise as kids get older, to nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors.
The results -- based on a 2011 survey of nearly 19,000 students, grades 6 through 12 -- were published online Tuesday by the Journal of Adolescent Health.
There are no restrictions on sales of flavored cigars except in Maine, Maryland, New York City and Providence, R.I.
The sale of cigarettes and cigars to those under 18 is illegal but CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says the cigars are as dangerous as cigarettes and that the marketing of such products seems intended to interest kids in smoking.