Cigarillos are small cigars that contain similar and sometimes higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes. Cigar smoke also contains higher levels of carbon monoxide, ammonia, and tar than cigarette smoke. The Wisconsin Synar survey monitors the percentage of retailers across the state selling tobacco to minors. The Synar survey shows cigarillos are increasingly being sold to kids, even as the number of retailers selling any tobacco product to youth has gone down slightly.
The overall sales rate of tobacco products has remained stable at 5.5 percent in 2019 (down from 5.8 percent in 2019). However, the product most often sold to youth was cigarillos for the second year in a row (7.4 percent in 2018 and 7 percent in 2019). Members of the 7C’s Health Initiative expressed concern over that trend.
“Seeing retailers selling cigarillos more often to minors is concerning, especially since we know these products are so attractive to young people,” said Mickey Rice, public health educator. “Many of these cigarillos can be bought for as cheap as three for 99 cents, and unlike cigarettes, they come in candy and fruit flavors like grape and cherry, making them more appealing to youth.” The 7C’s Health Initiative also noted these products don’t need to be displayed behind the counter like cigarettes. Many times they’re placed near candy and snacks.
While cigarillos may be flavored and displayed differently than conventional cigarettes, they carry the same health harms. “Single cigarillos are sold at 71 percent of tobacco retailers in Buffalo County making them readily accessible in all of our communities,” said Rice.
The 7C’s Health Initiative encouraged tobacco retailers in Wisconsin to visit WITobaccoCheck.org to take advantage of free training to help them avoid future underage sales. “We know retailers want to do the right thing and help their community, and the training at WITobaccoCheck.org can help them do just that.”
For more on local tobacco prevention and control efforts, visit the 7C’s website at www.7CsHealthInitiative.com.