When the word “strawberry” comes to mind, rancid, puss-filled, and gunk-ridden are not typically close behind. truth, the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign, is trying to change that.
Since February 2000, truth has been devising creative ways to educate teens on the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes. “Unsweetened truth,” the most recent campaign launched in March of last year, focuses on the 45 flavorings found in tobacco products. Though flavored cigarettes are illegal in the U.S., tobacco companies still use fruit flavoring such as strawberry, apple, and grape, to enhance other tobacco products.
In August, truth released a mobile game, Flavor Monsters, as part of the campaign. Players work to defeat the Flavor Monsters, putrid, vilified versions of fruit. The creatures are supposed to represent the added flavorings in tobacco, and a field manual that contains data on the monsters and tobacco-related facts accompanies the game.
In addition to Flavor Monsters, truth is breaking into the toy industry with hand-painted sofubi vinyl toys by Luke Rook, creator of Grody Shogun. The collectible toys are based on the characters in the Flavor Monsters mobile game, including the mini-breed strawberry, the mini-breed wild apple, and the Honey Buzzer, the largest Flavor Monster of them all. Each monster comes in multiple colors.
The figures are available for purchase at truth’s 45 Flavors interactive booth at select gaming conventions nationwide. The Flavor Monsters are also being integrated for sale online at lulubelltoys.com.