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A. Regulators Request Health Warnings for Cigars

Narrator: This is Science Today. Federal regulators have recently asked Congress to mandate new health warnings on cigar boxes and advertisements to dispel notions that cigars are safer than cigarettes. Lisa Bero, a health policy expert at the University of California, San Francisco, has studied the cigar trend and says it definitely shot up within the last six years.

Bero: It was actually very, very high in the 1920s. We have data that go way, way back looking at cigar sales and it went to an all-time low in about the Sixties or Seventies and then it's been coming back up. But what's interesting is we're looking at a ten-year period from '86 to '97 and in about the last six years, cigar smoking has doubled.

Narrator: While health warnings on cigars boxes could help deter smokers, Bero says public health interventions have to go farther than that.

Bero: We have to define the messages first, figure out what they are, what's working, what's reaching people, what's not. What's motivating people to continue to give this attention to cigars and then we can try to develop ways to counter that.

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