Flavors Hook Kids in Maine
Tobacco companies have developed an array of menthol, mint, candy, and fruit-flavored products in colorful packaging to attract new users and keep them using tobacco. The tobacco industry knows that 95% of adult smokers start by age 21, so these flavored products aren’t for adults. Flavors hook kids!
1 in 4
Maine high school students now use e-cigarettes – a rate that has nearly doubled in the past 2 years!
8 out of 10
middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes use flavored products
5 out of 10
youth (ages 12-17) who smoke use menthol cigarettes
8 out of 10
African Americans who smoke use menthol cigarettes
There are now over 15,000 flavored tobacco products on the market.
Winter Menthol. Peppermint Mocha. Cherry Crush. Banana Blast. Pop Tart. Cotton Candy. Flavored tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes, undermine Maine’s efforts to reduce youth tobacco use. While almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, more than half of Maine youth who use e-cigarettes say they think it’s just harmless flavoring.
Menthol cigarettes are the most dangerous flavored tobacco product.
Menthol flavoring makes it easier to start and become addicted to cigarettes. Menthol masks the harsh taste of tobacco and numbs the throat, making the smoke easier to inhale more deeply. People who use menthol cigarettes show greater signs of nicotine addiction and are less likely to successfully quit smoking than other smokers.
The tobacco industry has a long and lethal history of targeting kids and other communities with flavored products.
Tobacco industry documents reveal aggressive marketing, including cheaper prices and more advertising of menthol cigarettes in African American neighborhoods. The tobacco industry has also targeted the lesbian, gay and bisexual community with predatory advertising in LGBTQ magazines and sponsorships of local Pride events and celebrations.
Maine is seeing an explosion of e-cigarette use (also known as “vaping”) among youth.
This epidemic started with Juul, a high-tech device disguised as a USB drive that comes in a variety of flavors to entice kids. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes. This high concentration is a serious concern for youth, who are already uniquely susceptible to nicotine addiction. Juul is just one example of how the tobacco industry has adapted their products and their marketing tactics to attract their “replacement smokers”
Tobacco use puts our kids’ health and futures at risk. Smoking causes disease and disability, harming nearly every organ of the body. There is also growing evidence that e-cigarettes can harm lung health. And now, the U.S. Surgeon General warns that nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and long-term harm to brain development, stating, “No matter how it’s delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults.
Flavors aren’t for adults. Flavors hook Maine kids.
It’s time to act.
Help give Maine youth and young adults a fair shot at a healthy and productive future, free from tobacco addiction. Ask your lawmakers to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine.
1 Juul pod delivers about the same amount of nicotine as a full pack of 20 cigarettes.
As the world combats the coronavirus (COVID-19), it has never been more important to keep our lungs healthy. One of the best ways to do this is to quit smoking and vaping – and to prevent young people from ever starting in the first place.
Help us end the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Maine! Sign up today and we’ll keep you updated about ways you can educate policymakers, share information with your networks, participate in events, and more. If your organization would like to partner with us, please complete our partner form.