The Top 8 Things the Industry Does to Encourage Youth to Use E-Cigarettes

E-cigarette use among high school students has increased by 68% from 2017 to 2020. This dramatic increase led to the federal government declaring youth e-cigarette use an epidemic in 2018.

Today, nearly one in five high school students (19.6%) use e-cigarettes, which was a decline between 2019 and 2020. E-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Maybe kids think e-cigarettes are cool, but the e-cigarette industry has been using 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

While the Trump Administration had pledged to “clear the market” of all flavored e-cigarettes, they’ve allowed thousands of flavors to stay on, including menthol-flavored pods. Flavors are one of the main reasons kids use e-cigarettes. More than 57% of high school students use mint or menthol flavored e-cigarettes too.

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 the 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: January 27, 2021