Over 80% of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product

L.A. Families Fight Flavored Tobacco

California has made tremendous progress in reducing the high school smoking rate to a historic low of 2%. Yet 10.9% now use e-cigarettes. And right here in Los Angeles, more than one third of high school students have tried e-cigarettes.

In fact, youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed to what the Surgeon General and FDA have called “epidemic” levels. Nationally, over 2 million youth currently use e-cigarettes. The main cause of the problem was Juul, a sleek, high-tech e-cigarette that looks like a USB flash drive – and is small and easy to hide, came in sweet flavors that enticed kids and delivers a powerful nicotine hit. One Juul pod delivers as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.

But Juul isn’t the only problem. There are many e-cigarette flavors still available plus 200 cigar flavors, and more keep coming. These flavored tobacco products undermine LA’s efforts to reduce youth tobacco use:

  • 81% of kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
  • 85% of youth e-cigarette users report having used a flavored product in the past month.

Tobacco companies also continue to aggressively market menthol-favored cigarettes to kids, African-Americans and other demographic groups as they have for decades. Youth smokers are more likely to use menthol cigarettes than any other age group. Menthol cigarettes pose a tremendous public health threat – they make it easier to start and harder to quit smoking. African Americans smoke menthol cigarettes at high rates and quit smoking at lower rates, and African-American men have high death rates from lung cancer. That’s why the NAACP and others want to restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes – because they hurt black communities especially.

Los Angeles can protect our kids by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, one of the most promising ways to prevent the industry from addicting our kids.

Get the Facts


of high school tobacco users in Los Angeles County use flavored tobacco products.


of youth e-cigarette users in Los Angeles use flavored products as do 87.5% of hookah users and 87.4% of little cigar and cigarillos users.


of Los Angeles youth cigarette smokers have used menthol cigarettes in the last 30 days.


of Los Angeles high school students say it would be easy to get e-cigarettes if they wanted them.

Source: Los Angeles County Findings from the 2017-18 California Student Tobacco Survey

85% of African Americans who smoke use menthol cigarettes.

Learn more about menthol

Get the Facts

Additional Resources

1 Juul pod delivers about the same amount of nicotine as a full pack of 20 cigarettes.

In The News

OP-ED: Big Tobacco helped destroy Black Americans’ health. Banning menthols could help improve it
August 3, 2020, LA Times

PRESS RELEASE: California Senate to Big Tobacco: It’s Time to End the Sale of Candy-Flavored Tobacco Products, Including Sweet Minty Menthol
June 25, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Senate Advances State Legislation to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco
May 13, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Statement in Response to Rancho Cordova Police Officer’s Excessive Force on 14-year-old Black Boy
April 30, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19: Never has it been more important for smokers to quit and for individuals to avoid damaging their lungs by vaping
March 20, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Big Win for Kids: U.S. House Approves Bill to Reverse Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic, Prohibit Flavored Tobacco Products
February 28, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Carson Measure to Protect Youth Health, End All Flavored Tobacco Sales
January 14, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Statement by Roosevelt High School Student Walter Perez on LAUSD Flavored Tobacco Resolution
January 14, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: LA City Council Committee Bows to Tobacco Industry, Ignores Science and Public Testimony to Add Exemptions that will Hurt Kids to Flavored Tobacco Ordinance
December 5, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Students, teachers, leaders call on L.A. City Council to act on flavored tobacco in schools
November 7, 2019

Why flavored vaping products are this era’s Big Tobacco menthol cigarettes
September 26, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: L.A. Families Fighting Flavored Tobacco Commends LA County Board of Supervisors for Moving to End Flavored Tobacco Sales
September 24, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Governor Newsom Announcement Regarding Flavored Tobacco
September 16, 2019

EDITORIAL: Banning flavored vapes may not stop a deadly respiratory outbreak, but it can cut teen use
September 12, 2019

Let’s ban vaping now
September 11, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Statement on Trump Administration Announcement Regarding Flavored Tobacco
September 11, 2019

Primera muerte por cigarrillo electrónico en California
September 6, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Statements on New Legislation to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco in Redondo Beach
September 4, 2019

PRESS RELEASE: Vaping Increases Among Los Angeles County Youth
August 19, 2019

OP-ED: Let’s call this youth vaping crisis what it is: A Juuling epidemic
August 15, 2019

New Documents Show JUUL Deliberately Targeted Children to Become the Nation’s Largest Seller of E-Cigarettes
July 29, 2019

Juul Targeted Schools and Youth Camps, House Panel on Vaping Claims
July 25, 2019

OP-ED: It’s time to stop dithering and do something about the teen vaping epidemic
June 24, 2019

FDA: ‘Influencers’ promoted vaping without suitable warnings
June 7, 2019

Mounting lawsuits against Juul reminiscent of early tobacco litigation
May 27, 2019

US health officials move to tighten sales of e-cigarettes
March 13, 2019

Juul Sheds Its Anti-Smoking Cred and Embraces Big Tobacco
December 20, 2018

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