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Flavored Tobacco Facts

Breathe California’s Project E-NUFF has been working on the issue of flavored tobacco since 2015. Our team of emerging community leaders has worked to draw attention to how the tobacco industry uses flavors in tobacco to target young people.

As a local organization based in San Francisco that has been working on the issue of flavored tobacco products, we are providing infographic fact sheets about flavored tobacco products in English, Spanish and Chinese.

We are also providing fact sheets about the health impacts of flavored tobacco products:

E-Cigarette Facts and Myths
Health Effects of Tobacco and Nicotine
Health Effects of E-Cigs and Vapes

Please call our office at (650) 994-5868 for more information.


See Project E-NUFF’s letter to the editor about flavored tobacco in El Tecolote in English and in Spanish.

Project E-NUFF

Protect Youth from Tobacco:  End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco

March 2017 — Sign The Petition on Change.org

Endorse Us | Our Policy | Project E-NUFF in Media | Other Cities | Research | Endorsements | About Project E-NUFF

80% of youth who use tobacco started with a flavored tobacco product.

Project E-NUFF is conducting a city-wide campaign to protect youth from tobacco by ending the sale of flavored tobacco in San Francisco.

Flavored tobacco is just as dangerous as non-flavored tobacco, and targeted to kids.  Examples include:

Flavored tobacco examples

Flavors mask the taste of tobacco (still the #1 preventable cause of death in our country), allowing the tobacco industry to target kids — but the flavors do not mask the long-term health effects.

Flavored tobacco is also a social justice issue because flavored tobacco products, especially menthol cigarettes, have also been targeted for decades toward African American, Latino, and other youth.

From 2015-2017, Project E-NUFF has researched this issue and how it affects youth in San Francisco. We surveyed 150 San Francisco high school students, mostly in the Bayview, Excelsior, and Tenderloin areas of San Francisco, in autumn 2015, and found that flavors play a key role in tobacco use among San Francisco youth. We found that 67% of the students who smoked blunts said they preferred flavored blunts, and over 50% of those who used e-cigarettes said that they preferred flavored e-cigarettes. The most common answer for why students thought their peers used flavored tobacco products, out of a list of choices, was: “It tastes good.”

We held a focus group of adults in the Bayview to determine attitudes and thoughts about youth and tobacco use in the neighborhood, and how flavored tobacco and the tobacco industry targeting of these products to kids and teens has played a role in youth tobacco use. We have conducted interviews with key informants about the issue of flavored tobacco.

Endorse Project E-NUFF

We are gathering endorsements for our policy campaign

We want your support in endorsing Project E-NUFF.

Endorsing on behalf of a community organization will help us show policymakers the broad support among organizations in the community for ending the sale of flavored tobacco.

Endorsing as an individual will help show policymakers support among local residents for dealing with flavored tobacco in our communities.

Endorse Project E-NUFF Now:

Project E-NUFF’s Proposed Policy

We aim to protect youth from tobacco by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco in San Francisco. This would affect all tobacco retail licensed stores in San Francisco.

Covering all flavored tobacco

Flavored tobacco means any product with a key flavor like candy, fruit, and mint, but not “bold”. We want to cover all flavored tobacco products so children can be protected from all flavors, rather than tobacco companies targeting kids with the flavors that remain available.

Menthol cigarettes:
Targets kids and many communities of color.  In 2009, Congress passed legislation prohibiting almost all flavors of cigarettes, but kept menthol cigarettes on the market.  Our policy would close this loophole and also make sure that cigarette companies cannot target kids with favors in any other tobacco products.
Flavored e-cigarette liquids:
Thousands of flavors, especially candy. Known carcinogens and cardiovascular effects.
Flavored hookah:
Contains a lot of smoke but the cooling sensation of water plus the flavors masks how dangerous it is
Flavored cigars, chew, and pipe tobacco:
including little cigars, often the same size and shape as cigarettes.

Covering all of San Francisco

Flavored tobacco is sold throughout San Francisco, concentrated near schools and low-income neighborhoods – getting youth, especially low-income youth, addicted to tobacco.

We want a policy that would be fair to businesses across the city by giving the same playing field to all retailers, while focusing on protecting the health of youth from the key thing that gets kids onto tobacco.

Benefits of a citywide policy

  • Easier to implement — enforcement will be clear.
  • Creates a fair playing field throughout the city — fairer than geographic buffer zones.
  • Kids spend time at schools but also near their homes. Low-income neighborhoods are blanketed with flavored tobacco products. These neighborhoods may not be covered by school buffer zones.

Strong Public Support

Almost 90% of San Francisco high school students (ages 14-17) who believe that flavored tobacco products are harmful also believe that flavored tobacco products should stop being sold in San Francisco.

Project E-NUFF Media

Project E-NUFF on Breathe California’s social media:

Blog Posts about Project E-NUFF

Other Cities Tackling Flavored Tobacco


These are some of the cities and counties that have passed ordinances strongly limiting the sale of flavored tobacco.

In 2016, Santa Clara County passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco — all flavors, all tobacco products — for the unincorporated area of the county.  As of late 2016, Yolo County also considered doing exactly the same.

We want San Francisco to be the first large city to take on the issue of flavored tobacco citywide, by dealing with all flavors for all tobacco products.

Research on Flavored Tobacco and Youth

Scientific research is clear about flavored tobacco and youth

Research is clear that flavored tobacco, including flavored e-cigarette juices and menthol cigarettes, get kids to start using tobacco.

  • Research shows that flavored tobacco is a “starter” product, leading many youth to lifelong nicotine addiction.1
  • Flavored tobacco is known to include chemicals such as diacetyl (which causes popcorn lung, a deteriorating lung disease) and is linked to severe respiratory disease.2
  • 70% of African American students who smoke use menthol cigarettes compared to their non-Hispanic white (51.4%) and Hispanic peers (52.3%).1
  • 7 in 10 middle and high school students who use tobacco prefer flavored tobacco products.1
  • Menthol’s “cooling” sensation described makes it difficult for menthol smokers to quit.1
  • As addictive and harmful as non-flavored tobacco products.3
  1. Corey CG et al., “Flavored tobacco product use among middle and high school students- United States, 2014.” MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015; 64(38): 1066-1070.
  2. Farsalinos, KE et al., “Evaluation of electronic cigarette liquids and aerosol for the presence of selected inhalation toxins.” Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2015; 17(2): 168-174.
  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Fact Sheet: Flavored Tobacco Products,” 2011.

Menthol flavored cigarettes:

  1. AC Villanti et al., Changes in the prevalence and correlates of menthol cigarette use in the USA, 2004-2014, Tobacco Control 2016.

Flavored e-cigarettes:

  1. Pepper JK et al., Adolescents’ interest in trying flavoured e-cigarettes, Tobacco Control 2016.
  2. Dai H, Hao J, Flavored Electronic Cigarette Use and Smoking Among Youth , Pediatrics 2016; 138(6).

Other resources:

Endorsements of Our Policy to End Flavored Tobacco in San Francisco

This is a partial list of organizations and coalitions that have endorsed Project E-NUFF’s policy concept to protect kids from tobacco by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco in San Francisco:

Community Organizations

  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco
  • Bay Area Community Resources
  • Cameron House
  • CommunityGrows
  • Compass Family Services
  • Good Shepard Gracenter
  • La Casa de las Madres
  • The LOOP (at UCSF)
  • Public Health Organization of Graduate Students (at SFSU)
  • San Francisco Tobacco Use Prevention Education Advisory Council
  • Vietnamese Youth Development Center
  • Youth Leadership Institute
  • 18 Reasons

Coalitions and Task Forces

  • San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition
  • San Francisco Asthma Task Force

We are updating our list of endorsers periodically to demonstrate the growing support for our policy. If your organization would like to endorse Project E-NUFF’s policy concept, please fill out this online form.

More About Project E-NUFF

Project E-NUFF is a project of Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, funded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Its purpose is to conduct research about youth tobacco use in San Francisco and to develop a policy campaign to protect youth from tobacco. Download a Project E-NUFF Fact Sheet.

Our activities:

  • Establish partnerships with local community agencies to support local tobacco control efforts
  • Conduct and analyze survey data about tobacco use among youth in San Francisco
  • Conduct key informant interviews with retailers and local tobacco control experts about flavored tobacco and its impact on youth
  • Learn about the latest public health research regarding flavored tobacco products
  • Speak with local community residents about tobacco use in San Francisco
  • Engage with local policymakers about local tobacco legislation

Contact us to learn more about the project

Phone: (650) 994-5868 | Email: info@ggbreathe.org