A history of targeting consumers through flavors.
The tobacco industry has a long standing history of using flavors to attract a younger generation of users. In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed and prohibited the sale of flavored cigarettes, with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavorings.6
While the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was a step in the right direction toward preventing youth tobacco use and initiation, there are still many flavored tobacco products on the market today. Flavors are still used in smokeless tobacco, cigars, hookah, e-cigarettes/vapes, and e-liquid (commonly known as e-juice). Flavors continue to disguise toabcco products as tasting better and being safer than unflavored products, however flavored tobacco products are just as dangerous and addictive as cigarettes.
Youth and young adults use flavored tobacco products at higher rates than the rest of the population.
Studies have shown that 81 percent of kids who have used tobacco say they first started with a flavored product.1 Often times these products are marketed as "starter" products because flavors disguise the harsh tast of tobacco making it easier to start but harder to quit.
There are over 15,500 different flavors of vapes and e-juices on the market.5 These flavors range from watermelon, OMG (orange, mango, guava), sour worms, unicorn poop, and many more. Often times e-juices come in packaging to closely resemble childrens favorite candy and treats making them highly attractive to younger generations. According to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, approximately 85% of youth who vape use flavors.7 This goes to show that flavors play a major role in youth e-cigarette use rates.
Youth (9th-12th graders) and young adults (18-34 year olds) use e-cigarettes and vapes approximately 3x the rate of older adults (35+ year old's) in North Dakota.3,4 This is concerning, because your brain does not fully develop until age 26 and when nicotine is introduced into your body before your brain is fully developed it changes the way your brain circuits form. This can cause problems with learning, attention, and susceptibility to addiction.
Is menthol a flavor? YES.
Menthol is a chemical compound found in plants that is used as a flavoring in cigarettes and other tobacco products. This flavoring helps to mask the harshness of tobacco by creating a cooling effect in the users throat and mouth. Studies have found that more young adult smokers use menthol cigarettes compared to adult smokers.
Menthol is exempt from the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. However, many states and localities include menthol in their flavored tobacco restiction laws.
Flavor Restrictions at the local and statewide levels.
In North Dakota there are currently 3 city wide flavor restrictions:
Across the United states there are a variety of flavored tobacco bans and restrictions.
Click HERE to learn more about flavor restrictions across the United States.
What can you do to protect North Dakota's Youth?
- Talk to the young person in your life about the dangers of vaping and other tobacco use. Its never too early to start the conversation and share with them your concerns about tobacco use.
- Keep your home and car smoke and vape free.
- Use your voice! Share your concerns about flavored tobacco products with community members.
- Learn and advocate for flavor tobacco restrictions for your state and community.
- Help your teen quit! There are several options for Bismarck and ND teens to get help with quitting vaping or other tobacco use:
- MyLifeMyQuit - https://nd.mylifemyquit.org/index
Free over the phone and online quit services
- Bismarck Burleigh Public Health - call (701)355.1597 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free in person cessation counseling for youth and adults
- Middle and High School Student Tobacco/Vaping Cessation Support within Bismarck Public Schools - call (701) 426.4275 or email Brittany_feil@bismarckschools.org
Free in person cessation counseling for Bismarck Public School Middle and High School students
Nicotine + Flavor = A Receipe for Addiction: Infographic Click HERE to Download
Flavored Vape Memory Game: Click HERE to Download
A spin on the classic game MEMORY helping to show the comparison between flavored vapes and e-juices on the market with popular candy, treats, and beverages.
- The Flavor Trap - Report from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
- Menthol: facts, stats, and regulations - Factsheet from Truth Initiative
- 2019 North Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey
- 2018 North Dakota Behevioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey
- Flavored E-Cigarettes Hook Kids - Factsheet from Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
- 2009 Family Smoking & Prevention Act - An Overview by the FDA
- 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey