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Vapes and Industry Tactics

Did you know tobacco companies invest in and own some e-cigarette companies?

Big Tobacco is behind some e-cigarettes and vape products, also known as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, e-hookahs, e-pipes, tanks, and mods.

Some of these devices are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Others resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items. They can be disposable or rechargeable. Some take cartridges or pods pre-filled with e-liquids/juices, while others can be filled by the user. Popular brands include Puff Bar, fruyt STIK, JUUL, Bo, myblu, Smok, and Suorin. 

Flavors

Vapes come in a wide array of flavors, which is often what gets kids to try them. To protect our youth, Massachusetts restricted the sale of flavored vapes, pods, and e-juices except in adult-only (21+) smoking bars. Due to federal regulation, no flavored pods, aside from “tobacco” or “menthol,” can be sold nationally. However, MA’s law considers menthol a flavor, so menthol products in MA are also restricted to adult-only smoking bars.

Other Substances

Some vapes can be used with other substances like CBD and marijuana/THC – alone or in combination with nicotine.  Vaping nicotine alone or in combination with other substances has been associated with serious lung issues such as EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping product use-associated lung injury).

Other Nicotine Products

The vaping and tobacco industries continue to put out new products. Two examples of new products on the shelves are:

Heated Tobacco Products: Often referred to as “heat-not-burn” by the tobacco industry, these products heat actual tobacco leaf. Research suggests that heated tobacco products contain many of the same harmful ingredients as regular cigarettes as well as other harmful ingredients not present in regular cigarettes. Brands include iQOS, glo, and Eclipse.

Snus and nicotine pouches: Snus (rhymes with loose) is made with tobacco leaves and comes in a teabag-like pouch that is placed inside the lip and dissolves to release nicotine. Nicotine pouches are similar, but do not contain tobacco. Brands include Catch, General, LYFT, ZYN, VELO, DRYFT, or on!.  

Industry Tactics

Many people think the tobacco problem is solved. It’s not. The rate of cigarette smoking among youth continues to decrease in Massachusetts but 1,500 young people still become cigarette smokers every year in our state (Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK)).

In an effort to get young people in Massachusetts hooked on nicotine-based products, the industry has introduced new products that are appealing to kids.  

In 2019, approximately one third of Massachusetts high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes, and over half tried them at least once. More high school students used e-cigarettes than all other tobacco products combined, and they used them at a significantly higher rate than adults.

Massachusetts has taken action to reduce the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries:

Sweet: Vapes and e-cigarettes come in thousands of different flavors. The majority of youth who use e-cigarettes use products that are flavored.

In Massachusetts: The sale of flavored e-cigarettes is now restricted to adult-only smoking bars. As of June 2020, ALL flavored tobacco products, including menthol, are restricted to smoking bars for onsite consumption only.

Cheap: Products are priced to encourage impulse buys by young people.

In Massachusetts: As of June 2020, e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems are taxed, bringing them in line with the cost of cigarettes and other tobacco products and making them less attractive for impulse buys.

Easy to Get: These products are at gas stations, corner stores, mini-marts, and many more types of stores.

In Massachusetts: The new tobacco law makes e-cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products harder to get. But this doesn’t mean that youth will stop seeing tobacco products or advertisements in your community.

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