Flavors Hook Kids

THIS IS NOT

APPLE JUICE.

Not apple juice

it’s

flavored

tobacco.

smoke Flavored Tobacco

The tobacco industry has a kids menu.

  • hero-apple-juice

Why Flavors?

vape-liquid

Flavors mask the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to get hooked on nicotine. The tobacco companies know this.* They also know that flavor means a whole lot more. It’s how we celebrate, how we nurture, and in many cases, how we pass down culture in kitchens all over California.

The emotional ground they’re mining is giving way to a terrifying number of flavors, crafting a more-is-more mentality by which kids can always say, I haven’t tried that one. Yet.*

With thousands of flavors, you might wonder how they haven’t run out of options. Here’s the trick. Not all their flavors are actual flavors. To maximize profit potential, they moved beyond the limits of what kids taste, and into more sacred space of what kids imagine. Cha-ching. Just like that, their product line is boundless. And customized for curiosity.

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15,500

tobacco flavors and counting

EASIER TO SMOKE, HARDER TO SPOT

Even if they didn’t mean to attract kids (history suggests otherwise), that’s what they did. You’d think they’d change their tactics to stop more from coming. Instead, they continued to transform their drug into the stuff of childhood, and hook the kids we work so hard to protect.

This is a test

Can you pick out which are tobacco products and which are innocent kid things? Click to play.

While you were learning about your kids’ favorite flavor 
the tobacco industry was, too.

Get the guide
Girl eating candy floss

4 of 5

kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.*

Boy blowing bubble gum

The brain’s peak period for developing

addiction starts in adolescence.*

Girl eating a lollipop

Early exposure to nicotine paves

a pathway for addiction of all kinds.*

Vape pens

The less dangerous tobacco seems to teens,

the more they use it.*

Why Kids?

Timeline

Candy Cigarettes Rum Maple cigarette pack

1930s

Tobacco companies work with candy manufacturers to market candy cigarettes, which were later linked to an increased risk of smoking

Candy cigarettes
Stars Cigarettes Camel Flavors cigarettes

1978

Lorillard tests new flavors including Marshmallow, Cherry, and Tutti-Frutti, described as for

“younger people, beginner cigarette smokers, teenagers

and those who

want to be reminded of bubblegum.*”

Infographic
Camel Flavored cigarettes

1990s

R.J. Reynolds significantly increases its flavors. Internal industry documents reveal the emphasis on flavors as part of their attempt to hook “Tidal Wave 2,” the generation that became known as millennials.

Infographic
Camel Flavors cigarettes

Realistically, if our company is to survive and prosper, over the long term

we must get our share of the youth market

— R.J. Reynolds,

Makers of Winston, Camel, Salem

Camel Signature cigarettes

None of this is new

The tobacco industry has a history of trying to turn kids into addicts. 2009 Federal ruling instituted a ban on cigarettes with flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and clove.

But there was a loophole

The law said no flavored cigarettes. Which left the door wide open for flavored cigars and cigarillos, flavored smokeless pouches, flavored e-cigarettes and e-juices, and other products still in development.

Girl and boy piggy back

2009

Menthol, a popular flavor among kids because it eases the harsh taste that comes with smoking*

was left out of the ban.

And because it was the only flavored cigarette left

sales lifted immediately

following the ban.

Boy giving girl piggy back

2010s

Manufacturers alter flavored cigarettes to qualify as “little cigars,” evading FDA rules for years.* Sales of flavored cigars increase nearly 50% from 2008 to 2015.*  The industry also ramps up product development in variety of flavors and smoking devices.

2014

E-cigarette flavors in the marketplace, double from

7,764

Arrow

15,586

in three years.

Candy Kids Pocky sticks Popcorn Popcorn Ice cream

2018

Juul, dubbed the iPhone of vaporizers, reaches critical mass. The best-selling e-cig on the market, available in 6 flavors,

Juul commands 56.4% of the e-cig market share, and racks up

$224 million in sales

in one fiscal year.*

The startup reports a struggle keeping up with the massive demand.

Users also struggle. In fact Juuling in high schools has become such a problem some schools have resorted to removing doors off bathroom stalls.  And punishment has moved into addiction treatment plans.

Popcorn Ice cream Juul on school desk

By 2020

the e-cig market is expected to reach

$15 billion

Unless we

do

something

Don’t miss the tobacco industry’s latest scam.

Health Facts

Cigarillos come in lots of flavors and have

3

x

the tobacco of cigarettes, and can lead to lung and oral cancers, plus heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and aortic aneurysms.*

Tobacco use kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicles, homicide, illegal drugs and suicide

COMBINED*

E-juice causes arterial stiffness, associated with an increased risk of

heart attacks and strokes

in later life.* And there are more than 15,500 flavors of e-juice on the market so far.

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BRAIN SCIENCE FOR REGULAR PEOPLE

To explain why the tobacco industry targets kids, we have to lay down a little science.

  1. 1

    Nicotine changes the brain, which is why quitting is so hard.*

  2. 2

    The tobacco industry profits off addiction.

  3. 3

    The brain’s peak period to develop addiction is in adolescence.*

  4. 4

    If you think it’s coincidence that kids are the likeliest addicts and that tobacco now tastes like candy, go back to number two.

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SEND A LETTER OF CONCERN TO YOUR MAYOR:

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If you cannot find your city on the list above, and have a community leader you wish to send this letter to, please select ‘Other’, and click on ‘Send My Letter.’ You will then have the opportunity to revise the recipient and city name and add the email address of your choice.

Dear Mayor

My name is and I am a resident of .

I am writing because I am concerned about the tobacco industry’s use of flavors in their toxic products to lure kids into lifelong addiction. The tobacco industry doesn’t stop at the use of flavors, it also uses kid-friendly packaging to deceive kids into thinking their products are harmless. This, coupled with unchecked online purchasing, gets tobacco products past parents and teachers and straight into the hands of kids. All of this is a recipe for disaster.

The tobacco industry’s use of flavors is very strategic, as it targets the age group most susceptible to addiction. The youth in our area face enough challenges in this time of their development. We should be setting them up for success, not saddling them with addiction that could torment them all their lives. They deserve better.

I ask for your leadership in addressing how we can keep our kids safe from an industry determined to do them harm.

Sincerely,

Send My Letter
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THANK YOU

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FIND A TOBACCO CONTROL PROGRAM NEAR YOU

Local tobacco control programs are located throughout the state. Services they provide may include:

  • Information about how you can help keep kids away from toxic, addictive tobacco products
  • In-person cessation support programs or referrals to programs in your area
  • Information and/or assistance in dealing with secondhand smoke issues in your community
  • Assistance in implementing smoke-free public policies
  • Ensuring that tobacco retailers comply with state and local licensing laws
  • Monitoring tobacco industry activities in your community

Local tobacco control programs are located throughout the state. Services they provide may include:

  • Information about how you can help keep kids away from toxic, addictive tobacco products
  • In-person cessation support programs or referrals to programs in your area
  • Information and/or assistance in dealing with secondhand smoke issues in your community
  • Assistance in implementing smoke-free public policies
  • Ensuring that tobacco retailers comply with state and local licensing laws
  • Monitoring tobacco industry activities in your community

Enter your zip code to find your tobacco control program.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • US Surgeon General, Know the Risks: E-cigarettes & Young People

    Get tips on how the talk with your teen can be a successful experience for both of you.

    Visit Resource
  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, The Flavor Trap

    Get a handle on the tobacco industry’s tactics, both current and past, to hook kids for life.

    Visit Resource
  • New York Times, The Juul is Too Cool

    Learn about the cultural impact of the Juul e-cig from this kid-focused on-the-ground reporting.

    Visit Resource