Which tobacco brand is increasing its cigarette sales among youngsters?

Camel gained over 20 percent more market share among 12 17 year olds and over 60 percent among 18 25 year olds in 2010, the most recent year analyzed, according to Citi’s decade long brand specific study of youth smoker trends. Newport also bumped up its share over 10 percent among the first group and nearly 30 percent among the latter, while Marlboro remains the most popular brand among young people. (h/t Business Insider)

While overall cigarette use declined among teens, it is believed that Camel gained market share due to their Camel Crush, a cigarette that releases menthol flavoring through its filter when pinched.

The Food and Drug Administration advised a ban on menthol cigarettes in March precisely because of their popularity among underage consumers. FDA advisors also reported last year about the increasing sales of menthol brands among youngsters, especially minorities. More than four in every five black teen smokers and over half of Hispanic teens smokers reportedly used menthol cigarettes.

Tobacco companies have been accused of targeting youth in the past. For example, Camel No. 9 cigarettes, evoking women’s fragrance brands like Chanel No. 9, were all the rage among girls between the ages of 12 and 16, according to a study published in Pediatrics in 2010. Camel gave free items such as berry flavored lip balm and purses with the product when it first came out in 2007, USA Today reported in 2010.

The government has undertaken a new advertising effort to decrease the national smoking rate by using explicit graphics of tobacco’s devastating health consequences. Cigarette companies have appealed the government’s right to place these ads on their packaging claiming that the anti smoking efforts are going too far.

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