In a just released report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers have concluded that cigarette and tobacco use by teenagers enjoyed a long decline from 1997 to 2003, but then tobacco use stagnated between 2009 and 2011. Even more startling is that the use of cigar use among black teenagers has spiked, going from 7.1% of black high school students to 11.7%.
A few obvious factors are at play. First, cigars are much cheaper than cigarettes. Sin taxes do not effect cigar price nearly to the same extent that they effect cigarette taxes, so if you are a high school kid on a budget (which you should be) than cigars look increasingly attractive, especially in high cigarette tax states like New York where it is $4.35 a pack as compared to Georgia where it is just thirty-seven cents per pack.
Second, for the longest time, some folks have liked to chisel out the inside of a little Swisher Sweets cigar to roll up a little blunt. This is a likely scenario given that more teens smoke pot than smoke cigarettes. Just by look, it is much easier to conceal Mary Jane when she’s wrapped inside a cigar shell.
But the third, and most insidious reason young black teens are smoking cigars and likely candidates for Cigar Aficionado subscriptions is Snoop Dog. Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., known to most of you as Snoop Dog, wants to make money. And one of his money-making adventures is Executive Branch cigars.
Snoop Dog has an image, a brand, and cigars are a part of that brand. I get it. In making money off of his brand though, Snoop’s company encourages use of a product that is “associated with an increased risk for cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box) and/or oral cavity (lip, tongue, mouth, throat).”
If Snoop wanted to make some news he would sell his company and take the profits and put them into tobacco-cessation programs. Snoop would encourage kids to stay in school and off marijuana. But, Snoop won’t do that. Millions more dollars to Snoop is worth all the years lost by the users of his products and the lifestyle it promotes. I want to make money too, but not that way.