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April 4, 2020

2/1/2020 7:30:00 AM
Oneida County Health Dept.: Cigarillos most sold tobacco product to minors

New data from the Wisconsin Synar survey shows that little cigarillos are increasingly being sold to kids, even as the number of retailers selling any tobacco product to kids has gone down slightly, a press release from the Oneida County Health Department states.

The Synar survey, which monitors the percentage of retailers across the state that sell tobacco to minors, shows that the overall sales rate of tobacco products has remained stable at 5.5% in 2019 (down from 5.8% in 2018). However, the product more often sold to youth was cigarillos for the second year in a row (7.4% in 2018 and 7% in 2019).

Members of the Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition (NWTFC) expressed concern over the trend.

"Seeing that retailers are selling cigarillos more often to minors is concerning, especially since we know these products are so attractive to young people," Oneida County community health specialist Maria Otterholt said. "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 kids."

In addition to their cheaper prices and kid-friendly flavors, NWTFC noted that, unlike cigarettes, these products don't need to be displayed behind the counter. In fact, many times they are placed near candy or snacks, the release states.

"While cigarillos may be flavored and displayed differently than conventional cigarettes, they carry the same health harms," the release states. "Cigar smoke contains higher levels of carbon monoxide, ammonia, and tar than cigarette smoke."

Otterholt encourages tobacco retailers in Wisconsin to visit 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 can help them do just that," Otterholt said.

For more information, contact the Oneida County Health Department at 715-369-6110.

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