New State Data Show Reduction in Cigarette Use in Maryland- However, Flavored Cigars and Smokeless Products Enticing Underage Smokers

Baltimore, MD (December 8, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) released a report today showing that tobacco use among Maryland public high school youth decreased by almost 40 percent from 2000 to 2013. This decline is largely attributable to a reduction in cigarette smoking. Underage use of smokeless tobacco increased between 2000 and 2013, while underage use of cigars did not change to a statistically significant degree.

Youth and Flavored Tobacco

Fruit- and candy-flavored (i.e., grape, strawberry, apple, peach, vanilla, chocolate, etc.) cigars and smokeless tobacco continue to be legally sold in Maryland and are increasingly popular among minors. 
The choice of flavored smokeless tobacco or cigars by underage high school youth who use these products has not only remained high, but increased from 72.1 percent in 2010 to 77.1 percent in 2013.
A higher proportion of minors than adults smoke cigars and use smokeless tobacco in Maryland – the proportion of underage smokeless tobacco users is more than three times greater than the proportion of adult users (6.9 percent youth; 2.2 percent adults) and the proportion of underage cigar smokers is more than two-and-a-half times greater than the proportion of adult cigar smokers (11.5 percent youth; 4.4 percent adults).

Cigar Use Trends

While the overall rate of youth cigar use showed no statistically significant difference from 2000 to 2013, usage increased sharply – peaking in 2008 – followed by a marked decrease between 2008 and 2013.  The decrease coincided with an educational campaign ( launched by DHMH in response to the rise in prevalence, as well as an increase in taxes applied to cigars. Though progress has been made, in 2013 cigars were still the most used tobacco product by underage youth (11.5 percent), surpassing cigarette use (11.0 percent) by minors.



Smoking and Other Risky Behaviors

Minors who smoke are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, especially substance use. The increased likelihood represents the relative risk of an underage smoker engaging in the behavior as compared with the risk of an underage non-smoker.
Smoking Status Past 30 Days/Abuse of Alcohol Past 30 Days/Abuse of Marijuana Past 30 Days/Abuse of Rx Drugs Ever Used
Other Illegal 
Smokers 79.4% 67% 37.9% 51.1%
Non-Smokers 23.7% 12.6% 4.2% 8.9%
Increased Liklihood of Smokers Engaging in Behavior (Rounded) 3 times 5 times 9 times 6 times

Tobacco Use among Maryland Adults

Adult cigarette use also has declined more than 20 percent since 2000 (20.5 percent in 2000, 16.2 percent in 2012). Just 0.5 percent of Maryland adults reported that they had started to use tobacco during the past 12 months, and 74 percent of adults who smoke cigarettes report they want to quit. Encouraging data show that the percentage of adults who never have smoked cigarettes is increasing – from 56 percent in 2000 to 61 percent in 2013. And hospital admissions to treat tobacco-related cancers decreased 11 percent between 2000 and 2011, saving more than $102 million in hospital charges in 2011 alone.
Maryland’s success in reducing tobacco use can be attributed to tobacco prevention programs, public policy initiatives, clean-indoor-air regulations and such programs as the Maryland Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Having served more than 14,000 Marylanders, the Quitline offers evidence-based counseling to all people 13 and older and, while supplies last, offers free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to eligible callers. A recent evaluation documented 75 percent of Quitline callers being successful in quitting or reducing tobacco use and 96 percent stating that they would recommend the program to a friend. Further information on the Quitline can be found at
The full state report, “Monitoring Changing Tobacco Use Behaviors: Fiscal Year 2013,” can be found here: 


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