Flavored tobacco products continue to fuel dangerous youth nicotine use. More than 80% of youth who have used tobacco report that they began with a flavored product. As the youth e-cigarette epidemic continues, more than eight in 10 (84.7%) of the 2.04 million high school and middle school students who vape use flavored e-cigarettes, according to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey.
Exposure to tobacco marketing and advertising contributes to youth tobacco use initiation. Children and adolescents more frequently exposed to point-of-sale tobacco promotion have 1.6 times higher odds of having tried smoking and 1.3 times higher odds of being susceptible to future smoking compared to those less frequently exposed. Not only do the flavored products and their colorful packaging attract youth, but youth also perceive these flavored products as less harmful. A survey of tobacco retailers in five cities, in three states, highlights how in-store marketing and particulars of place, inventory, price and other variables can make flavored tobacco products more accessible to youth.