This week ClearWay Minnesota launched a new component of our Still a Problem media campaign. The new ads highlight how the tobacco industry uses flavors to target kids, teens and young adults.
Notable elements include a new TV ad airing around the state, which uses the metaphor of neighborhood kids being lured to an ice-cream truck driven by a tobacco executive.
The tobacco industry has a long history of deliberately using flavors to attract kids. Internal documents revealed these quotes from industry insiders:
“The base of our business is the high-school student.”
“It’s a well-known fact that teenagers like sweet products.”
“It was suggested that we investigate the possibility of borrowing switching study data from the company which produces ‘Life Savers’ as a basis for determining which flavors enjoy the widest appeal [for young people].”
Cigarettes containing flavors other than menthol can no longer be sold in the United States – but many other tobacco products, including little cigars, cigarillos, chew and e-cigarettes, are still sold in kid-friendly flavors such as bubble gum, strawberry and grape.
And menthol cigarettes are targeted to and disproportionately used by groups including African Americans, young people, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) communities.
You can learn more about how tobacco companies use flavors at stillaproblem.com.