Flavors mask the harsh taste of tobacco, making it easier for kids to get hooked on nicotine. The tobacco companies know this.* They also know that flavor means a whole lot more. It's how we celebrate, how we nurture, and in many cases, how we pass down culture in kitchens all over California.
The emotional ground they're mining is giving way to a terrifying number of flavors, crafting a more-is-more mentality by which kids can always say, I haven't tried that one. Yet.*
With thousands of flavors, you might wonder how they haven't run out of options. Here's the trick. Not all their flavors are actual flavors. To maximize profit potential, they moved beyond the limits of what kids taste, and into more sacred space of what kids imagine. Cha-ching. Just like that, their product line is boundless. And customized for curiosity.
Even if they didn't mean to attract kids (history suggests otherwise), that's what they did. You'd think they'd change their tactics to stop more from coming. Instead, they continued to transform their drug into the stuff of childhood, and hook the kids we work so hard to protect.