E-liquid flavors may be the key to smokers looking to quit according to a new article
As the technology around vaping and e-cigarettes improves, and its popularity grows, so do the debates of its effectiveness and safety. Often it seems every single aspect or angle of vaping is being analyzed and debated over. Scientific studies and surveys have been conducted, and the overwhelming majority of findings show that vaping is an effective tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction. One of the biggest topics for debate is the vast variety of e-liquids available on the market and their “chemical additives.” As a result, many are worried about what this habit’s side effects could be in the long run.
Because of these concerns over e-liquids and flavors, the UK’s Centre for Substance Use conducted a study on the effect vaping flavors have already had on society. With data collected over the past few years, along with some interviews about users relationships with vaping over time, they hoped to determine the positive and negative effects of flavoring. What they found was that limiting access too or banning flavored e-liquids would be far more detrimental that it would be positive.
The study was begun in reaction to claims, by agencies like the FDA, that flavored e-liquids had no additional smoking cessation benefit to users. The goal was to understand what flavors vapers were choosing, and how their choices evolved over time. The idea was that if they could form a better understanding of e-liquid preferences over time that they would be better able to regulate future vaping.
Once the numbers were gathered and analyzed, the CSU found 76.4% of all of those surveyed had made a complete switch from smoking to vaping, supporting other studies about the efficiency of vapes as a smoking cessation tool. They also found that the number of vapers who opted for fruit-flavored liquids increased over time, going from 17.6% in 2011 to 33.5% by 2016. Use of traditional tobacco and menthol flavored e-liquids decreased over that same period, so much so that they went from initially be the 1st and 2nd most popular flavors to 5th and 6th.
It was with these findings in mind that the researchers said “Adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA who have completely switched from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigarettes are increasingly likely to have initiated e-cigarette use with non-tobacco flavors and to have transitioned from tobacco to non-tobacco flavors over time. Restricting access to non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors may discourage smokers from attempting to switch to e-cigarettes.”
Researchers continue, around the globe, to study the long and short-term effects of vaping, but despite this, the FDA is currently taking steps to ban flavored e-liquids other than tobacco and menthol. The 120-day period for public comment ended recently, and it will not be so long before it’s revealed if the voice of vapers was enough to change their mind. Experts have projected that without a very substantial public push, the flavor ban could very quickly come to fruition.
Dr. John Buckell, a researcher out of Yale, conducted over 2000 interviews to understand the impact of flavor options, then he and his team formed several statistical models of the impact various flavor bans would have. One of the strongest claims he and his team had was that if there were a ban on flavors besides tobacco and menthol over 8% of smokers would likely relapse to using combustible cigarettes. However, if menthol cigarettes alone were banned, and e-liquids left be, then that would likely cause a 5% decrease in tobacco sales. Despite this and other ample evidence that a ban on flavors would be detrimental to smokers, the FDA at this point still chooses to push the ban on flavored e-liquids
For vaping to reach its full potential, and for combustible cigarette use to come to an end, the wide variety of e-liquid flavors currently available must be preserved. These choices are, in large part, what brought so many smokers to vaping in the first place. While previously these claims were seen as anecdotal, more and more research like the studies above prove that the availability of many flavors really does have a positive impact on a smoker’s ability to quit.
If a smoke-free future is possible, and flavors play a part in it, we must do everything we can to preserve them. Vaping has already been proven, by Public Health England, to be at least 95% safer than smoking, but it’s also been shown to be the best cessation tool we have available. That’s why we must continue to support these potentially game-changing devices.
Do you think that flavors are an essential part of helping smokers quit? Do you think a flavor ban would have the opposite effect and increase the smoking rate? What’s the most important thing to do when you’re attempting to quit? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.