skip to main content

Public Health - Seattle & King County

Flavored tobacco: Candy-coated addiction

The emergence of new flavored tobacco products on the market poses a significant threat to the public's health especially Washington State youth.

Display of e-cigarettes sold in a store Example flavors:
  • Peach
  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Grape
  • Tequila
  • Wine
  • Apple Martini
  • Blueberry
  • Burst
  • Champagne
  • French Vanilla

Flavored tobacco appeals to youth

  • Tobacco products, such as cigars, cigarillos and snus (teabag-like pouches of tobacco), have brightly colored packaging and are available in a wide array of youth-friendly flavors.
  • New dissolvable tobacco products like orbs (dissolvable tobacco pellets), sticks, and strips closely resemble gum, candy, and breath strips.
  • Flavors mask tobacco's harshness making them easier to use and increasing their appeal to youth.
  • A 2007 national study showed that 17-year old youth smokers were 3 times more likely to use flavored cigarettes than adult smokers over the age of 25.
  • Nationally, 90% of current adult smokers started using tobacco at or before they turned 18.

Youth tobacco use in Washington

  • Youth smoking has NOT declined in recent years.
  • 45 youth start using tobacco every day and onethird of them will eventually die from it.
  • 13% of youth report smoking cigarettes in the past month.
  • BUT, 20.3% of youth report using, in the past month, non-cigarette tobacco products such as cigars, chewing tobacco or hookah -- which are typically flavored.
  • 1 in 5 school-aged youth who use tobacco usually get their tobacco from a store or gas station, locations where flavored products are generally displayed and sold.

Flavored cigars and chew are still legal to sell

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes to protect our youth from initiating tobacco use. However, the ban does not include other types of flavored tobacco such as smokeless tobacco or cigars. Maine and New York City have closed the loophole by banning the sale of all flavored tobacco.

Sample types of e-cigarette products

Big Tobacco's schemes to lure young people to use these deadly and addictive products must finally end.

For more information, call 206-296-7613.

This fact sheet is also available in PDF format.