Research finds cigarette manufacturers target youth market with candy flavored cigarette brands

November 10, 2005

Boston, MA - New research from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that cigarette makers are targeting young smokers with candy and liqueur-flavored new brands that mask the harsh and toxic properties found in tobacco smoke, and in one case, embedding a hidden flavor pellet within the filter. Despite assurances from cigarette makers that they no longer target the youth market, the researchers found that new brands are being marketed to young smokers and racial/ethnic groups using colorful and stylish packaging and exploiting adolescents' attraction to candy flavors. The study appears in the November/December issue of the journal, Health Affairs.

The researchers sifted through a database of more than 7 million internal tobacco industry documents spanning more than 30 years for information on alternative flavors and flavor technology used in the development of products targeting new and younger smokers. Carrie Carpenter, lead author of the study and a research analyst at HSPH stated, "Flavored cigarettes can promote youth smoking initiation and help young occasional smokers to become daily smokers by reducing or masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke and increasing the acceptability of a toxic product."

A 1993 internal document stated, "Growing interest in new flavor sensations (i.e. soft drinks, snack foods) among younger adult consumers may indicate new opportunities for enhanced-flavor tobacco products that could leverage [a brand's] current strength among younger adult smokers."

Internal research by the tobacco industry showed manufacturers that they could capitalize on youths' attraction to candy flavors. They used innovative product technology, such as a flavor pellet imbedded in one company's cigarette filters, to deliver fruit and liqueur flavors. Some of the flavored cigarettes the companies have developed include; Mandarin Mint, Mocha Taboo, Mintrigue, Kauai Kolada, Margarita Mixer and others. Fruit and candy flavors were also added to smokeless tobacco products, cigars and cigarette rolling papers.

Gregory Connolly, senior author of the study and a professor of the practice of public health at HSPH noted, "Tobacco companies are using candy-like flavors and high tech delivery devices to turn a blowtorch into a flavored popsicle, misleading millions of youngsters to try a deadly product. Adding candy flavors to a toxic product (cigarettes) isn't any different than adding sugar to contaminated meat a century ago. The only difference is that today one is regulated by the FDA and the other is not."

Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, a funder of the study, commented, "The public should recognize these products for what they are - a tool to lure younger smokers to their brands, and then potentially to a lifetime of tobacco addiction."
The study; "New Cigarette Brands with Flavors That Appeal to Youth: Tobacco Marketing Strategies; Health Affairs, November/December 2005, Volume 24, number 6, was funded by the American Legacy Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 300 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 900-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit:

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to