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A picture of a hand holding up a pineapple, another hand holding up and orange, and another hand holding a vape device.

The Flavor Trap: Hooking Teens with Vape Flavors

From mint to fruit to candy, vape flavors are just more clever marketing from Big Tobacco.

The tobacco industry is an evil genius. Motivated by money, their goal is to get your business, no matter the costs to your health. Since the use of traditional cigarettes has declined (in other words, cigarettes have gone from being “cool” to a cause of death and disease) the tobacco industry has needed ways to save its business from further decline. When vape products (or e-cigarettes) entered the mainstream market, Big Tobacco jumped on the chance to hook teens with the “new and improved” nicotine product

With flavors like fruit and mint, coupled with advertising suggesting vapes are safer than traditional cigarettes – even with evidence that says otherwise – the tobacco industry successfully grabbed hold of young people curious to join the trend. 

A study from 2013-2014 showed that most youth who use e-cigarettes first start with a flavored variety and that flavors are the primary reason youth report using e-cigarettes. So, clearly, flavored vape products are designed to lure in young people. This is a genius move, as young people’s brains are more susceptible to lifelong addiction than their adult counterparts, and addiction to a product means a lifelong customer! Cha-ching. Another win for the tobacco industry.

Electronic cigarette, lemons and bunch of grapes within vapor on black background

E-cigarettes are also advertised using the same themes and tactics that have been shown to increase youth initiation of other tobacco products, including cigarettes. Tobacco advertising has historically contained false and manipulative messages, such as tobacco products being cool, attractive, and safe. These false messages continue to be used for vapes and young people continue to be harmed because of it.

While the FDA monitors usage rates and engages in prevention efforts, it is our responsibility to see through the lies the tobacco industry continues to slip our way. Harmless fruity flavored vapor? Not quite. Educate yourself on what’s really in a vape and decide for yourself: is it worth giving your money to the tobacco industry?

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