Research Shows Flavors Aren’t The Reason Some Teens Try Vaping Research Shows Flavors Aren’t The Reason Some Teens Try Vaping

Data from the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates flavors are actually what appeals least to some experimenting teens.

Localities throughout the United States, from San Francisco to New York, are enacting various forms of prohibition in the name of protecting teens from vaping, claiming that flavors are enticing and hooking kids for life. However, data published by the country’s top public health agencies offer a very different narrative directly from the teens themselves.

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers new insight into the reasons why some teenagers may try vaping, and the results weren’t exactly surprising. It turns out that despite the often-repeated myth that teenagers are drawn to vaping and then instantly addicted for life through flavors such as “vanilla,” it turns out that simple curiosity and a drive for experimentation is by far the biggest motivation for some teens to try vaping.

This new data from America’s top public health agency directly contradicts the narrative used by some lawmakers as the rationale for enacting sweeping reactionary flavor bans that only impact harming adult smokers rather than protecting teens as they claim. Flavor bans only end up restricting adult smokers’ access to proven and effective smoking cessation devices, and force this vulnerable and addicted group to continue associating nicotine with tobacco.

Anti-vaping activists repeatedly propagate the myth of a so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” as a reason to lobby lawmakers to pass overreaching reactionary regulations prohibiting vaping in a variety of ways. Despite these claims, current data indicates that worries over teenage vaping and their motivations for doing so are regularly dramatically blown out of proportion.

Lies About Vaping

The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) is a self-reported cross-sectional nationally-representative survey of students in grades 6-12 throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey is an annual collaborative effort between The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office on Smoking and Health (OSH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has been conducted since 2011, with the 2019 survey being published in early December.

When teens who had tried vaping were asked why they had done so, over half of the students responded, “I was curious about them,” with less than a quarter stating it was because “they are available in flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate.” This directly counters the common myth propagated by anti-vaping activists in order to lobby lawmakers to enact reactionary regulations.

It turns out teenagers may be a bit reckless and experimentive and may be willing to try things they know they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, this common-sense perspective now illustrated in hard data from teenagers themselves, conducted and published by the country’s top public health agencies, doesn’t get the same mainstream press attention as fear-mongering lies about vaping.

Much of the attention surrounding the 2019 NYTS has been focused on the prevalence of experimentation among teens, but this may be missing a fundamental part of the larger conversation. As public health experts and vaping advocates have long noted, flavors aren’t what’s drawing some teens to experiment with vaping.

Truth About Vaping

New data from the 2019 NYTS adds to a growing collection of evidence indicating that concerns over teenage vaping tend to be dramatically overblown. A study of over 60,000 teenage participants conducted by Public Health England found that as little as 0.1% to 0.5% of non-smoking teens even try vaping.

Unfortunately, these lies from anti-vaping activists are used to enact flavor bans, which prevent adult smokers from accessing a proven and effective smoking cessation device as opposed to actually protecting teens. Research from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than prescription options.

In addition to vaping’s remarkable efficacy as a smoking cessation device, evidence continues to show it is notably less harmful than tobacco. Landmark research conducted by Public Health England found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking, a figure the country’s public health agency routinely stands behind.

Furthermore, there is no evidence of long-term risk to users of e-cigarettes and other vapor products. In fact, research by the National Academy of Sciences indicates that vaping is less harmful than smoking and that there are no long-term health effects associated with prolonged usage.


Concrete information from teens published by the nation’s top public health agency that flavors aren’t what drives some teens to experiment with vaping, in theory, should have direct and immediate implications on the various forms of prohibition currently enacted or potentially being enacted throughout the country. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, much of the mainstream media attention the 2019 NYTS has received has selectively focused on other data points found from the survey.

Localities throughout the United States continue to push for prohibition despite the government’s data contradicting their reasoning for doing so. Rather than heed information from the nation’s top public health agencies, lawmakers desperate to appease voting parents ahead of the election cycle opt to enact reactionary regulations based on myths forced on them by anti-vaping activists.

Members of the vaping industry and community must highlight this new information in a friendly and informative way on social media and through organized protests toward the aforementioned legislators. While there have been some upturns in the ongoing war against vaping, there is still much work to be done to ensure adults have safe access to effective smoking cessation devices.

What are your thoughts regarding the new information highlighted by the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey? Do you believe this new information will have a more substantial impact on the various forms of prohibition being enacted throughout the country? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

(Image Credit – Pixabay –


Katie Bercham - CocktailNerd Editor

Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 5 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community.