- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2013

Your May 2 editorial arguing against Food and Drug Administration regulation of cigars ignores or glosses over a number of important facts about cigar use in the United States (“Snuff out that cigar”).

While your piece states that “it’s not cool in teenage circles to light up a stogie,” in fact, youth cigar use is on the rise. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that among high school boys, nearly as many smoke cigars (15.7 percent) as cigarettes (17.7 percent). For black high school boys, cigar use (11.7 percent) exceeds cigarette use (10.6 percent). Candy-flavored cigars, which are designed and priced to appeal to children, play a big part in the rise of youth cigar use.

In 1994, the seven heads of the tobacco industry testified under oath that tobacco products were not addictive, something they and the industry knew to be demonstrably false. Now it seems The Washington Times wants to give this same industry a permanent exemption from federal oversight, when what is really needed are federal efforts to keep Big Tobacco from peddling candy-flavored cigar products to our children.

ALFRED MUNZER

New York, N.Y.