Ever Wonder Why Vape Flavours Are “Fun”?

Script & Graphics by: Shaza Al Muzayen | Editor: Sakina Mohamed | Data Visualisation: Shaza Al Muzayen | Web Design: Ummul Syuhaida Othman

KUALA LUMPUR, 31 May, 2024 (Bernama) -- Every year on May 31, the world celebrates World No Tobacco Day.

The theme for this year, “Protecting Children From Tobacco Industry Interference”, aims to raise awareness over the harmful influence of the tobacco industry on youth worldwide.

According to a 2024 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), global estimates show that 37 million children aged 13-15 years are using tobacco. The rate of e-cigarette usage is also higher among adolescents when compared to adults.

In Malaysia, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2022: Adolescent Health Survey reported a similar trend. While cigarette use among youths had decreased from 13.8% in 2017 to 6.2% in 2022, e-cigarette/vape use had increased from 9.8% to 14.9%.

In order to sustain its billion-dollar industry, tobacco companies use a variety of tactics to entice a newer, younger generation of customers to replace ones that have quit smoking and died.

Advertisements, marketing, sponsorship schemes - all play an important role in ensuring that the youths of today stay hooked on nicotine.

Flavour, the WHO states, is the main reason why youths are trying e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

To mask the bitter, harsh taste of tobacco and nicotine, e-liquids (the liquids used in e-cigarettes and vapes) are sold in sweet and fruity flavours and even marketed as “e-juice” and “vape juice”. The WHO reports that there are nearly 16,000 different flavours of e-liquids.

E-cigarette producers have been known to use cartoons and child-friendly imagery in their branding and marketing of sweet flavours. They have also designed their products to resemble popular cartoon characters and toys. One such product is the “toy pod”.

The products are also designed for discreet use and are available in shapes resembling a USB flash drive, pens, lipsticks and watches.


This explainer can also be viewed on our Instagram page.