THIS IS NOT APPLE JUICE.
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.
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.
KNOW THE SIGNS
How are kids getting it?
While California State Law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21, kids get it. Here are six common ways:
- Vape products are all over social media, and many promote the sale of their products right from their accounts.
- Website age gates are easily bypassed, and kids use a parent’s name for shipping. In fact, kids successfully buy e-cigs online 94% of the time.*
- Clerks at tobacco shops, vape stores, gas station and convenience store might not enforce the law to not sell to anyone under 21 years old.
- Many vape companies have names that wouldn’t raise a red flag on parents’ credit card statements.
- Online orders can be delivered to Amazon lockers in supermarkets or convenience stores.
- Orders can also be shipped to the homes where parent(s) are at work when the mail comes.
How to tell if your kid is vaping?
- If their room smells artificially sweet, don’t assume it’s a scented candle.*
- Nosebleeds are common among Juul users.*
- Many vapors report increased thirst.*
- There is often a heightened caffeine sensitivity.*
4 of 5
kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.*
The brain’s peak period for developing
addiction starts in adolescence.*
Early exposure to nicotine paves
a pathway for addiction of all kinds.*
The less dangerous tobacco seems to teens,
the more they use it.*
Don’t miss the tobacco industry’s latest scam.
Cigarillos come in lots of flavors and have
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
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.
BRAIN SCIENCE FOR REGULAR PEOPLE
To explain why the tobacco industry targets kids, we have to lay down a little science.
Nicotine changes the brain, which is why quitting is so hard.*
The tobacco industry profits off addiction.
The brain’s peak period to develop addiction is in adolescence.*
If you think it’s coincidence that kids are the likeliest addicts and that tobacco now tastes like candy, go back to number two.
SEND A LETTER OF CONCERN TO YOUR 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.
INTERESTED IN JOINING A LOCAL TOBACCO CONTROL COALITION?
Sign up to find out how you can help stop the tobacco industry from targeting our children.
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