Tobacco is Changing: Understand Tobacco's Tactics

Vaping products

For Tobacco, Every Kid is a Potential Customer

Eager to grow up and try new things, young people are already vulnerable to the lure of tobacco use. Unfortunately, the ruthless way tobacco products are often packaged, marketed, and made can increase that risk.

Aggressive marketing in retail environments and communities of color. Decorative tins, packs, and wrappers in bright, youthful colors help new tobacco products stand out in stores—while products disguised as everyday objects help kids hide their addiction at home and in school. Even worse, thousands of sweet flavors that appeal to teenagers' taste buds and sense of adventure are making it into young people’s hands. One of those flavors, menthol, can even make tobacco products more addictive.

Once you know the signs, it’s not hard to spot the unethical tobacco tactics influencing young people in your community.

Know the Tactics

Learn more about the manipulative tactics that the tobacco industry uses—in their products and packaging, in our stores and neighborhoods—to attract young people. The Know the Tactics fact sheet covers:

  • The dangers of sweet, fruity, and minty tobacco flavors.
  • How tobacco companies alter retail environments to attract youth.
  • What makes tobacco product packaging eye-catching for kids.
  • Why menthol makes addiction worse for kids and some communities.
 
Get to Know Tobacco's New Tactics

Help Wisconsin’s young people avoid the high costs of youth tobacco use. Learn to recognize the many ways tobacco companies influence our kids and communities.

 
 
 

There’s a Lot Our Tobacco Laws Don’t Cover

Raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21 is an important step for preventing youth tobacco use, but not every law is as helpful. Right now, the tobacco industry is taking advantage of 2020 federal, flavored e-cigarette restrictions that only impact a few, specific devices. The result? Flavors that target youth like cotton candy, menthol, and gummy bear are still on the market, tempting kids to try tobacco products that are already too easy for young people to access and afford.

Wisconsin needs comprehensive tobacco policies that work together to prevent youth tobacco use. You can help make it happen, by supporting legislation that restricts the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, as part of Wisconsin’s tobacco prevention efforts.

What the Law Overlooks

Flavored vaping juice

Flavors that Hook Kids

There’s a reason why the first tobacco product most young people try is usually flavored. Kids like candy, and sweet, fruity, and minty flavors help mask the harsh taste of tobacco products, making them easier for young people to use. No wonder the tobacco industry continues to find new ways to get flavored tobacco products into kids’ hands, like disposable vapes.


Vaping flavor packaging

Packaging that Looks Harmless

Bright colors, slick designs. Today, deceptive packaging makes the average tobacco product look more like a fun toy than a dangerous addiction, but tobacco’s most troubling design trend? Look-alike e-cigarettes that help nicotine blend in with everyday objects, like USB drives, backpacks, highlighters, and hoodies.


Illustration of smoking and vaping products with sale sign

Marketing that Targets Youth

Want to know where millions of tobacco marketing dollars go? Visit your neighborhood gas station or corner store. Whether they’re placing products on kid-level shelves and counters, slashing prices on addictive menthol products in communities of color, or advertising near schools, tobacco companies are manipulating the retail environments young people visit most.


Four teens watching a cell phone

Help Wisconsin Adopt a Comprehensive Tobacco Policy

We can react to Wisconsin’s tobacco problems, or we can use best practices and proactive policies that work together to prevent youth tobacco use and other statewide challenges. You can help make that happen. Find out how you can support comprehensive tobacco policies for a healthier state and take action in your own community.

Take the Next Step

Change for the better starts when caring individuals stand together for kids, their communities, and policies that can improve everyone’s health. Find out how you can make a difference.

Last Revised: November 11, 2020