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, 10 (5), 819-26

Little Cigars, Big Cigars: Omissions and Commissions of Harm and Harm Reduction Information on the Internet

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Little Cigars, Big Cigars: Omissions and Commissions of Harm and Harm Reduction Information on the Internet

Katherine M Dollar et al. Nicotine Tob Res.

Abstract

We conducted a comparative analysis of "harm," "harm reduction," and "little cigar" information about cigars on 10 major English-language health Web sites. The sites were from governmental and nongovernmental organizations based in seven different countries and included "harm" and "harm reduction" information, discussions of little cigars, quantitative estimates of health risks, and qualifying behavioral characteristics (inhalation, number per day). Of the 10 Web sites, 7 offered statements explicitly indicating that cigars may be safer than cigarettes. None of the Web sites reviewed described that little cigars are likely as dangerous as cigarettes. Some Web sites provided quantitative estimates of health risks and extensive discussions of qualifying factors. Reading grade levels were higher than desirable. Extensive and complex information on the reduced risks of cigars compared with cigarettes is available on Web sites affiliated with prominent health organizations. Yet these sites fail to warn consumers that popular cigarette-like little cigars and cigarillos are likely to be just as dangerous as cigarettes, even for those who have never smoked cigarettes. Improvement of these Web sites is urgently needed to provide the public with high-quality health information.

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