Study Highlights Need For E Liquid Flavours

A piece of research from the Centre for Tobacco Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centre was produced with the aim of helping to fight “the youth vaping epidemic” in the United States. The results led the lead author to warn that restricting access could produce an unintended consequence for adult smokers if legislators restrict access to flavoured vape products.

flavoured vape liquidsPublished in the Journal of Studies on Addiction and Drugs, the authors say that “sweet flavourings and cooling agents like menthol keep youth puffing e-cigarettes, and the majority indicate they would likely stop vaping if e-liquid flavours were limited to tobacco-flavour only.”

The findings

The team looked at self-reported papers from 1,414 school children, where they detailed what vapes they used, how often they vaped, what flavours they preferred, and what they would do if a hypothetical flavour ban came into existence.

A ringing endorsement for banning flavours?

Yes, if your only aim is to stop children vaping – but this brings other problems.

The lead author commented: “Many adults prefer using non-tobacco flavours to switch from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes. Flavour restriction policies should consider the best ways to protect public health while supporting adults who are interested in choosing potentially less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes.”

Flavours help adults quit smoking

RELX International recently responded to rumours of a flavour ban by saying, “flavoured devices play a pivotal role in helping adult smokers stop using cigarettes.”

The company’s European Manager added: “A ban on certain flavoured products would only serve to discourage adult smokers from making the switch to a next-generation device.”

In a debate about banning vape flavours on Scottish television, a UK Vaping Industry Association Director told viewers that it was a mistake to think that flavours are designed to appeal to children, stating: “We must remember that flavour plays a massive part in adult life, and we find them in food flavourings, sweets, desserts and alcohol.”

Ahh, but they would say that, wouldn’t they!


But in its submission to the Netherlands’ government, European consumer group ETHRA provided research evidence to support the argument that flavours are essential to adults successfully quitting smoking.

It pointed out that Dutch records show vapes are used almost exclusively by smokers and ex-smokers.

Product appeal, including through the availability of a wide range of flavours, is a crucial element in attracting smokers to vaping in the first instance, and to avoid relapse to smoking,” it wrote. “There is robust evidence that vaping non-tobacco flavours significantly increases the chances of successful smoking cessation.”

ETHRA’s own research from 35,000 vapers revealed that if there was a ban on flavours:

  • 28% would go back to smoking
  • 71% would source products on the black market

Other unintended consequences

San Francisco has banned flavoured vape products. A study looked at the impact of the prohibition and discovered that while the flavour ban reduced teen vaping, the smoking rates rose as ex-smoker teens returned to tobacco use.

Anecdotally from vape forums, ETHRA’s survey was born out as adult vapers either returned to smoking or began sourcing products from other regions of the States or from the black market.

So, despite the initial negative aim of the American study, the outcome highlights the importance of vape flavours for smokers and ex-smokers – something that is backed up by the industry, consumer advocates and independent research.

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