The rise of vaping

Discover how we created an award-winning website to educate the public on all the ways the tobacco industry encourages addiction in young people. We also provided supporting resources to help parents protect their children and make it easier for them to take action.

The hero image of California Tobacco Control Program's website, showing a teenager vaping with the text "Nicotine addiction and how to help"
An image of a child using a vape
Three desktop screens from the flavors hook kids website.

Insight /

What’s the appeal?

Among California’s young people, the practice of vaping — smoking tobacco-free, flavoured nicotine — was on the up. No longer the preserve of smokers trying to downgrade their habit, vaping was increasingly being adopted by teenagers who’d never touched a cigarette in their life. The reason? The concentrated effort of the tobacco industry to use the tools at their disposal — appealing colours, candy-floss flavours, and attractive tech — to hook a new generation on their products.

But far from being plain tobacco’s friendlier, safer cousin, vape fluid – with its potent chemical mix and high levels of nicotine – comes with its own health risks, especially to young people’s developing brains.

A tablet screen from the Flavors Hook Kids Website that reads, "The FDA policy loophole lets thousands of flavored, kid-friendly vapes stay on the market".

The California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) asked us to use our wealth of educational experience to develop a way to raise awareness among parents and the public of two areas of concern:

We would design and deliver a website that not only educated its viewers on these issues, but also encouraged them to take action.

idea /

Not so safe: repositioning vaping

We engaged our target audience — worried parents — to find out the best way to equip them with the knowledge, incentives and tools they would need to broach the subject with their children, and also take their concerns to local leaders.

The content naturally shaped the format. We had a wealth of information to convey, and in order to make it as easily digestible as possible, we opted for bite-sized, modular experiences across the website, with streamlined storytelling and eye-catching design. We created a gridded page flow that was clean, uncluttered and intuitive, so there was no barrier to understanding.

In less than two months, we:

A collage of screens from the Flavors Hook Kids website
Desktop screen from the 'Second Hand Dangers' website.Desktop screen from the 'Second Hand Dangers' website.

execution /

Designing for impact and clarity

The use of a solid black background gave a sombre quality to the site appropriate to its content. Blocky, all-caps headlines in white created a sense of urgency and felt like a warning. And the use of red accents under anchor text and in progress bars contributed to the sense of danger. Elsewhere, photographic images of vaping teens were treated with striking rainbow grads, providing momentary relief from the darkness – and also echoing the charm and allure these vape products have for teenagers.

Minimal copy and clear infographics allowed the serious messaging space to fully land. Subtle instances of movement helped key messaging pop.

impact /

Inspired, engaged, involved

There were two main goals the website needed to achieve – first, to educate its viewers about the tobacco industry’s manipulation of young people, and the dangers of nicotine to the developing brain, and second, to move these viewers to take action. To make this as easy as possible, we designed a variety of ways for people to get involved: from letter writing and conversation guides to module-by-module social sharing opportunities. We also included a prominent call to action, Voice Your Concern, on every site page.

Just under 500,000 site visitors have met our educated site visitor criteria. And over 10,500 people sent letters to their local mayors to raise concerns around vaping.

... and awarded

We're proud that the site has received the following awards:


Beyond is a collaborative partner that truly cares about the needs of their clients. They consistently deliver high-quality work, providing insights and problem-solving skills necessary in today’s fast-paced environment.”
Cortney Ceccato
Media Specialist, CTCP
3 years
North America

Project Information /