The tobacco industry has a kids menu.

The tobacco industry uses fun flavors and tech devices to hook kids on nicotine. Why kids? A developing brain is easier to addict.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Teens who vape could face higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Vaping can weaken lungs with toxic chemicals and fine metal particles. Should a teen develop COVID-19, their lungs could be at a disadvantage in fighting it off. As families are home to stay safe from the virus, it has given parents more time with their kids. Exploring this site together can help everyone understand the extent of vaping’s threat.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Teens who vape could face higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Vaping can weaken lungs with toxic chemicals and fine metal particles. Should a teen develop COVID-19, their lungs could be at a disadvantage in fighting it off. As families are home to stay safe from the virus, it has given parents more time with their kids. Exploring this site together can help everyone understand the extent of vaping’s threat.

In the last 2 years, vaping has increased by 218% among middle schoolers and 135% among high schoolers

97% of kids who vape use flavors

Teens are nearly 7x more likely to vape nicotine than adults

Marijuana vaping among youth has increased by 58% in a single year

An FDA Policy With a Dangerous Loophole

The youth vaping epidemic has finally prompted FDA action. Victory? Not by a long shot. Pressure from the tobacco industry created a dangerous loophole that lets kids continue to get vapes in thousands of flavors.

 

And kids may be able to buy pre-filled flavored products, like Juul pods, in the future. That’s because manufacturers still can apply for FDA approval to sell their products.

FDA policy does not allow:

  • Any pre-filled flavored vape pods that snap into vapes like Juul pods, except menthol or tobacco flavors.

FDA policy allows:

  • All refillable flavored vapes, like Suorin and Smok.
  • All single-use disposable flavored vapes, like Puff Bar.
  • Pre-filled menthol and tobacco-flavored pods.

KIDS CAN STILL GET THESE VAPES

Despite the FDA flavors policy, vapes are still available to kids in these three forms.

Pre-Filled Pod Vapes
  • JUUL
  • PHIX
Refillable Vapes
  • SUORIN DROP
  • VAPE PEN
Single-Use Disposable Vapes
  • PUFF BAR
  • POSH VAPE

The Breakdown

How can the industry still sell flavored disposable vapes?

The FDA restricts pre-filled flavored pods. Single-use disposable vapes don’t have pods. So Puff Bar, Posh, and other disposables sail right through the loophole onto shelves. The tobacco industry is free to market high-potency nicotine in kid-friendly flavors for as little as ten bucks a pop. No surprise they’re now trending in schools.

How did Juul get off easy?

They phased out the flavors that eventually became restricted. Did Juul benefit from being partly owned and operated by Big Tobacco giant, Altria, giving them access to seasoned lobbyists? It’s possible. What’s certain is that the vape widely seen as the culprit of the epidemic is largely unaffected by the FDA’s flavors policy.


The FDA policy loophole lets thousands of flavored, kid-friendly vapes stay on the market

The tobacco industry got the flavors loophole they lobbied for, so our kids still have plenty of flavored vapes to choose from. It’s time to take action.

US Food and Drug Administration

@US_FDA Twitter Verified Icon

You

@US_FDA Your new flavored vaping policy has a giant loophole that exposes kids to brain poison and puts them at risk for addiction. It’s time you prioritize kids’ lives over tobacco industry profits.
#flavorshookkids
www.flavorshookkids.org

NICOTINE = BRAIN POISON

The tobacco industry profits by hooking kids on flavored nicotine. When the product seems harmless, teen use rises. And nicotine’s changes to the brain could be permanent.

Flavors

The tobacco industry uses flavors to spark curiosity and mask the harshness of tobacco. Sadly, it works. 97% of kids who vape use flavors. What’s on the menu? Blue Razz, Pegasus Milk, and other tempting tastes, all made with flavor chemicals that may damage the lungs.

Nicotine

Many tobacco companies use nicotine salts in vapes rather than regular nicotine. Salts allow higher concentrations to be inhaled more easily and absorbed more quickly. Nicotine addiction can happen fast and can lead to substance abuse of all kinds.

Poison

Nicotine is poison for the adolescent brain. It changes the way connections form in the brain, which can interfere with kids’ attention and learning. It can increase anxiety, mood swings, and irritability at a developmental time when life is hard enough.

Know The Signs

  • Are there sweet, fruity, or menthol smells coming from behind closed doors?
  • Are there school supplies or tech products you don’t recognize in your kids’ backpacks or rooms? How about small vials or eye dropper bottles?
  • Have you come across unfamiliar chargers, coils, or batteries?
  • Is your teen spending more money than usual or making unexplained purchases? 
  • Have there been changes in your kids’ behavior such as increased mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or impulsivity?
  • Are your kids suffering from more frequent headaches or nausea?
  • School. Kids are buying and selling vapes in schools, especially disposable products like Puff Bar which can be bought in bulk for a big discount.
  • Stores. Alarmingly, nearly one in three kids who buy their own vapes buy them in stores. Clerks at smokeshops and convenience stores don’t always enforce the federal Tobacco 21 law, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age.
  • Social media. Vape products are all over social media, and many companies promote the sale of their products right from their accounts.
  • Websites and online orders. Age verifications are easily bypassed. In fact, kids successfully buy e-cigs online 94% of the time. Orders can also be shipped to the homes if the mail arrives when parent(s) are not home. Many vape companies have names like Posh and Stig that wouldn’t raise a red flag on parents’ credit card statements.

GET HELP

4 ways to get ahead of addiction
  • Talk to your kid. Share what you both know (and think you know) about vaping. Remember, a conversation always beats a lecture.
  • Ask your pediatrician to address vaping with your teen. Doctors often explain things in a way kids will listen.
  • Find out if your school is addressing vaping and ask school leaders to host educational sessions or activities about vaping for students and parents. 
  • Ask your Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) to address the teen vaping epidemic with the broader school community.

Do Something

Emails matter. Send yours in 3 clicks.

The tobacco industry targets kids with flavors. Reaching out to your mayor can make a difference. Enter your name, choose your city, and we’ll direct your email to your city’s mayor.

I'm Living in

Dear Mayor --name--

After the recent vaping illness outbreak that hospitalized so many young people, I was relieved to hear about the FDA policy restricting flavored vaping products. Then I learned about the huge loophole that still lets the tobacco industry keep thousands of flavors, including menthol, on the market. Now I’m angry. 

The FDA policy loophole is a win for tobacco companies. And when they win, our kids lose—with addiction, lung damage, and brain changes that could last their lifetimesLet’s not let the tobacco industry get away with this. Nearly 70 California jurisdictions have already restricted the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products, including menthol, to protect their kids. We need your leadership on every aspect of the youth vaping epidemic now more urgently than ever.

Thank you for your leadership in the fight to stop the tobacco industry from targeting our kids. Banning the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes was an important step. Unfortunately, despite our local ban and an FDA policy, menthol-flavored products are still on the market and available to kids. So the flavor widely recognized as Big Tobacco’s starter product is still on the market.

The FDA’s dangerous policy loophole is a win for tobacco companies. And when they win, our kids lose—with addiction, lung damage, and brain changes that could last their lifetimes 

Let’s not let the tobacco industry get away with this. Nearly 70 California jurisdictions have already restricted the sale of ALL flavored tobacco products, including menthol, to protect their kids. We need your continued leadership on every aspect of the youth vaping epidemic now more urgently than ever.

Thank you for your leadership in the fight to protect our kids from targeting by the tobacco industry. I’m so grateful that our city has banned the sale of flavored tobacco products. We’re helping to keep kids safe from the serious health risks of nicotine.

Sadly, underage vaping continues to grow. I hope more people will work toward reversing the rise in teen vaping. California kids deserve the chance to live a healthy, nicotine-free childhood.

Sincerely,

START THE CONVERSATION

Here's what Californians are saying about the vaping epidemic.

THE GUIDE

Print this guide to share with others

  • Telltale signs of vaping
  • Get help if your teen is addicted
  • A visual guide to vape products
  • What schools are doing about the problem
  • Help teens uncover the facts
View the Guide

In The News

Learn More

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