All About Flavored Tobacco Products

In recent years, there has been an explosion of sweet-flavored tobacco products (15,500 tobacco flavors and counting) that have fueled the popularity of e-cigarettes among kids.

Nationally, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students drastically increased between 2017 and 2018. According to data from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, there was a 78% increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students – that’s 1.5 million more middle and high school students using e-cigarettes than in the previous year.

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In King County, we don’t have our 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey data available yet, but 2016 data showed that twice as many youths are vaping as are smoking cigarettes. 10% of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders used e-cigarettes compared to 5% who smoked cigarettes.

Kids are attracted to flavors. A lot of kids are using e-cigarettes, and more than two-thirds (67.8 %) are using flavored e-cigarettes. Data show that 8 out of 10 teens who use tobacco started with a flavored product. Flavored tobacco products have been proven to appeal to youth and facilitate the start of tobacco product use.

Almost all e-cigarettes used by youth are flavored to taste like menthol, alcoholic drinks, candy, fruit, chocolate or other sweets. Flavored tobacco comes in bright packaging and is often designed to look like kid-friendly snacks and beverages. Flavors mask the harshness of tobacco, making it easier for kids to get hooked on nicotine.