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.

RETURN-TO-SCHOOL ALERT: As students return to in-person learning, kids have more opportunities to use vapes. Parents and teachers should watch for warning signs like increased mood swings, anxiety, and even taking a lot of bathroom breaks. Teens who vape are at 5–7x greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19. Explore this site with your teen to learn why vaping is more dangerous than ever.

NICOTINE = BRAIN POISON

The tobacco industry profits by hooking kids on flavored nicotine.

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.

Youth and young adult vaping is associated with 5 – 7x greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19.

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 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, including menthol.

 

Since the flawed policy was adopted, sales of all menthol vapes have jumped by 52%. Companies that used to sell fruit-flavored or pre-filled flavor pods to kids changed tactics. Now, they push the vapes that remain unregulated, like menthol and disposable. No surprise, those sales are up.

FDA policy does not allow:

  • Any pre-filled flavored vape pods that snap into vapes like Juul pods. However, menthol and tobacco flavors are still allowed.

FDA policy continues to allow:

  • 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

MENTHOL: EASY TO HIT, HARD TO QUIT.

When will childhood addiction rates drop? When tobacco tastes like tobacco.

Young girl smoking a menthol vape

HOW THE RULES BEND FOR VAPES

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 that teens have switched to disposable vapes—another concern as campuses reopen post-pandemic.

How did Juul get off easy?

As they phased out the flavors that eventually became restricted, Juul promoted menthol- and tobacco-flavored vapes instead. Now, despite the FDA flavors ban, Juul sells more menthol- and tobacco-flavored e-cigs than ever. In fact, sales of all menthol vapes are up by 52%. So, the company that’s widely considered responsible for the vaping epidemic is doing just fine.

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 You’d think a flavored-vape policy would slow sales for tobacco companies. It hasn’t. Companies like Juul keep on profiting while kids suffer. #flavorshookkids www.flavorshookkids.org  

OUR PROGRESS IS ACCELERATING

Communities up and down the state have moved quickly over the last few years to protect their kids from flavored tobacco products. But there’s still work to be done.
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17 policies
Statewide Policy

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After the 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. Research indicates that electronic nicotine-delivery systems may put users at greater risk of COVID-19 death. 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 lifetimes.

Let’s not let the tobacco industry get away with this. Over 90 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 a Food and Drug Administration (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. Over 90 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.

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