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E. Stomping on Cigar Chomping

Narrator: This is Science Today. Just what's behind the popular trend of cigar smoking? Health policy researcher Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco is trying to find out. Since the early Nineties, cigar sales have risen 50 percent. At first, Bero thought this was a reaction against what she calls the "health police."

Bero: I thought that was kind of an interesting idea. People are maybe fed up with this idea that they just have to be healthy all the time. But what was interesting is in our sample so far, that hasn't come up as a big reason for why people are smoking cigars. It hasn't been the reaction to the health police. What it has been is this whole power and glamour and success story. That's been the big theme that's coming across.

Narrator: Bero and her colleagues have been studying the portrayal of cigars in the media, particularly print. They've found the coverage has been pushing the glamour factor without noting the health risks.

Bero: If you read these articles that are glamorizing cigars - think about what's bad about cigars. And think you're being led down the same road that you were led down with cigarettes.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.