Expose the Deadly Flavors Challenge 2017

Expose the Deadly Flavors Challenge

This November, we launched Flavors Month at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control. To bring attention to the deadly flavors of cigarettes worldwide, we created two short videos discussing these deadly flavors. The two-part miniseries is available here and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

We also launched a challenge to feature flavored cigarettes from around the world, and you can submit your photographs in three ways: upload on Share-A-Pack website, reply to one of our related Facebook posts with an original photo, or email us your find to TPackSS@jhsph.edu.

As an incentive for this challenge, the first 50 unique pack submissions will receive IGTC merchandise and recognition on this page as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages. Submissions for this challenge will be counted on a rolling basis, but we ask that you continue with submissions throughout the entire month of November and beyond. Be sure to revisit this page to see the winners as they are announced. Let’s expose the deadly flavors!

Background and Results

One of the objectives of the Tobacco Pack Surveillance System (TPackSS) is to identify innovative practices tobacco companies use to market their products. Flavoring is an effective tactic introduced by the tobacco industry to attract new and retain existing smokers, leading a number of countries to enact prohibitions on the sale of flavored cigarettes. Among young adults, non-menthol flavored cigarettes were perceived to be less harmful, more appealing, and looked like “candy sticks.” (1) However, the vast majority of countries, especially low- and middle-income countries with some of the highest burden of smoking, have no such ban on these products.

Since 2013, the TPackSS project has collected and archived over 4000 tobacco packs from 14 low- and middle-income countries. Flavored cigarettes were found in all 14 countries with one in five of the 4000+ packs in our sample advertising a flavor through the presence of flavor-related words and/or images.

350 (8%) cigarette packs indicated “menthol” or “mint” flavoring

143 (3%) cigarette packs indicated a fruit or citrus flavoring

39 (1%) cigarette packs indicated an alcoholic beverage flavoring

136 (3%) cigarette packs indicated having a flavor capsule


(1) Kowitt SD, Meernik C, Baker HM, Osman A, Huang L, Goldstein AO. Perceptions and experiences with flavored non-menthol tobacco products: A systematic review of qualitative studies. Int J Enivron Res Public Health. 2017. Apr; 14(4): 338. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14040338