Curtailing Marketing and Flavor Additives to Reduce Youth Use of e-cigarettes (vaping)
E-cigarette use has exploded among U.S. youth, with 10.5% of middle schoolers and 27.5% of high schoolers reporting use. E-cigarette companies add candy, fruit, and other flavors to nicotine and promote such flavored products to youth. Most youth do not realize that products such as JUUL are addictive. Adding flavors other than menthol to tobacco cigarettes is banned in the U.S., but these laws were not written to cover e-cigarettes.
Eliminating the manufacturing and sale of non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes will reduce youth use of e-cigarettes.
Curtailing marketing of e-cigarettes to youth in general and flavored products in particular should reduce youth initiation and use.
E-cigarette manufacturers add fruit, candy, and other flavors and promote these flavors to entice new users, particularly youth. Regulating these flavors and their promotion as is currently done with tobacco cigarettes would reduce youth use of e-cigarettes.
Key Policy Evidence:
In a survey of over 6,700 youth and young adults, over 80% of tobacco users reported using flavored products, and over 75% of these said they would not use the product if it were not flavored.
Adolescents report that they are four or more times as likely to try an offered e-cigarette if it has a menthol, fruit, or candy flavor.
In a national study of over 13,500 youth (aged 12-17), 81.5% of e-cigarette users cited flavor as a reason for their use.
The majority of a random sample of California youth (average age 17.5) reported that advertising for flavors such as smoothy, cherry, and vanilla cupcake was targeted directly at their age group.