A patently obvious device used by e-cigarette (eCig) companies to attract teens is the promotion of youth-oriented flavors. In its flavored product lines, eCig manufacturers have far exceeded the flavorings used by the combustible tobacco industry. Almost every flavor addictive available in the market is available as a vapor juice. With many eCig manufacturers allowing consumers to pick and mix their own flavorings, the possibilities are endless.
Like combustible tobacco products, a number of eCigs are available in menthol flavor. Menthol is a mint extract, which triggers a sensation of coolness when it comes in contact with the mouth and throat. Advertisers for these brands often tout menthols' coolness as a contrast to the bitterness of tobacco. Implicit in this advertising technique is the notion that vaping mentholated eCigs are cooler and better for the consumer. Since menthol reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke, it appeals to young, inexperienced smokers
The eCig industry markets menthol eCigs to consumers with messages of fresh/refreshing taste and sensation, youthfulness, fun, and healthful effects. Advertisements often show nature, coldness, springtime, water, and other refreshing qualities. Menthol cigarettes are disproportionately smoked by African Americans and youth.
Flavored cigarettes and flavored tobacco have long been held to be gateway products for children and teens. There is now a growing concern that the use of flavored eCigs by youth could lead to them experimenting with regular cigarettes. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that rates of eCig use among U.S. youth more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, with 10 percent of high school students admitting to having used eCigs. Almost 76% of youth who had tried an eCig had also tried a regular cigarette. Altogether, in 2012 more than 1.78 million middle and high school students nationwide had tried eCigs1.
< p> With the Federal Drug Administration proposing not to ban flavors in eCigs, advocates fear that flavored eCigs will serve to entice a new generation of kids to become addicted to nicotine based products. Some public health advocates are calling flavored eCigs and vape juices the the “Trojan horse” of nicotine addiction.