Top 8 Strategies Big Tobacco Uses to Addict Kids to E-Cigarettes

Despite the intervening pandemic, the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) data paint a grim picture of youth vaping in the U.S. – kids continue to be lured by flavors and are becoming regular users.

The NYTS data show more than two million middle and high school students using e-cigarettes in 2021. The frequency of use by teens is especially alarming with 43.6% of high school students who use e-cigarettes vaping regularly (20 or more of the past 30 days), and more than 1 in 4 (27.6%) are vaping daily. This regular use underscores how addicted youth have become to e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. The e-cigarette industry uses a number of strategies, many previously used by the tobacco industry, to get kids to try their products:

1. Groundhog day!

The industry is using the same playbook to hook youth on e-cigarettes that they used to hook kids on cigarettes.*


2. Flavors

Flavored e-cigarette use among kids remains extremely high. Almost 85% of middle and high school students who vape reported using flavored e-cigarettes, with the top four flavors being fruit, candy/dessert/other sweets, mint and menthol. Kids continue to follow the available e-cigarette flavors; with the top one being fruit at 72% and close to 30% of youth e-cigarette users report using menthol e-cigarettes.

3. All the ads!

Over 69% of youth have reported seeing e-cigarette ads on TV, and a variety of other mediums…*

4. Corporate Sponsorships

Like the tobacco companies before them, e-cigarette companies are using corporate sponsorships, like auto racing, to improve their image.*

5. Eat your vegetables

E-cigarette companies are falsely advertising that their products are healthy, encouraging kids to try their product, which is anything but healthy.

6. Money Money Money

Using discounts and coupons to get kids to try e-cigarettes, but in true 21st century fashion, they are reaching out directly through social media to get to kids.*


7. Who is that?

Online vendors and sales easily allow youth to pose as adults to access e-cigarettes.

8. It’s hidden in plain sight…

E-cigarettes that look like flash drives (Juul and look-a-like products) are difficult for teachers and parents to notice. This allows use in school and even in class and is driving up youth e-cigarette use.

For more information on youth and e-cigarettes, check out the Surgeon General’s website on e-cigarette use among youth.

*Images courtesy of

Page last updated: November 17, 2022