Flavored Tobacco and Youth



In 2019, news media nationwide featured stories on alarming increases in youth vaping of tobacco, using e-cigarette products such as Juul. A study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2019 shows 27.5%, or one in four, high school students reported current use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping. Most e-cigarette users report use of flavored products.

Based on a survey of Mariposa County students conducted in the Fall of 2018, nearly one in three students reported ever using an e-cigarette (vaping). Additionally, over half of students believed it would be easy to get e-cigarettes (61%). A summary of survey key findings can be found here: Tobacco Use Among Mariposa County Students. The full report is available here: Mariposa County 2018 California Student Tobacco Survey.

Research has determined there are many harmful effects of nicotine on the developing adolescent brain, and indicate teens are often unaware of the nicotine levels in e-cigarettes and vaping liquids. If you would like more information visit Flavors Hook Kids or contact the Tobacco Education Program at (209) 966-3689 or (209) 966-6697

Mariposa County High School Confiscated e-cigarettes

MCHS Confiscated Vape Devices

Mariposa County High School Confiscated flavored e-liquids

Kid Friendly Flavored e-liquid

Almost all e-cigarette/vaping products contain nicotine, and the level can be very high.  Youth nicotine use can harm the developing brain, and impact learning, memory, and attention.3  It also sets kids up for a lifetime of tobacco addiction.

It's time to change the narrative on kids and tobacco products.

Instead of "If kids want it, they are going to find a way to get it", let's focus on what our community can do to limit youth access to and the appeal of tobacco products.  In Mariposa County 35% of all tobacco retailers sell flavored little cigars or cigarillos for less than $1.00.  Kids might not have $10.00 in their pocket for a pack of traditional cigarettes but most have a dollar or two for a cheap flavored cigar.

Prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products (including e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and little cigarillos) is a critical step to preventing another generation of young people from living a lifetime of addiction.4    We know that 80% of youth who ever used tobacco started with a flavored tobacco product and the majority of youth report flavoring as a leading reason for using tobacco products. Recommended community prevention strategies include:

  • Prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products in our community protects our youth from the lure of enticing flavors.
  • Imposing a minimum price and pack size makes tobacco especially cheap cigars, less affordable and accessible for youth.
  • The Surgeon General has recommended a minimum pack size of at least $10.00 per tobacco product.

ready to learn more about the impact of flavored tobacco products?

Check out these flavored tobacco guides English / Spanish and download our Fact Sheet  to learn more about how to protect our youth from tobacco addiction or contact the Mariposa County Tobacco Control Program to schedule a presentation to your group and request educational materials.  Call (209) 966-3689 or (209) 966-6697, email Vanessa Cummings at vcummings@mariposacounty.org 

Flavors Hook Kids Campaign

The website and advertising campaign, "Flavors Hook Kids", (www.flavorshookkids.org) is a good resource for parents and concerned adults who want to learn more about the availability of tobacco products with enticing flavors, and new e-cigarette devices called "pod mods."

Are you ready to take action?  Contact your local or state government representation. You can find a simple letter of concern at www.flavorshookkids.org/#do-something    


1. Office of the Surgeon General. (2018). Surgeon General’s advisory on e-cigarette use among youth. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2. Cullen, K.A., Ambrose, B.K., Gentzke, A.S., Apleberg, B.J., Jamal, A., & King, B.A. (2018). Notes from the field: Use of electronic cigarettes and any tobacco product among middle and high school students – United States, 2011 – 2018. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 67(45), 1276-1277.

3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). E-cigarette use among youth and young adults: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Smoking and Health.

4. California Department of Public Health. (2018). The truth about flavored tobacco. Retrieved from https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/CTCB/Pages/FlavoredTobaccoAndMenthol.aspx.

5. Ambrose, B.K., Day, H.R., Rostron, B., Conway, K.P., Borek, N., Hyland, A., & Villanti, A.C. (2015). Flavored tobacco product use among US youth aged 12 – 17 years, 2013 – 2014. JAMA, 314(17), 1871-1873.