During a controversial Senate hearing in June, e-liquid was a hot topic among politicians. Jay Rockefeller criticized ecig companies for offering flavors that he believes appeal only to children. “I am an adult,” he announced. “Would I be attracted to Cherry Crush, Chocolate Treat, Peachy Keen, Vanilla Dreams? No, I wouldn’t!” Since then, Forbes has named it the Rockefeller Rule. If a particular flavor of e-liquid doesn’t interest the 77-year-old senator, then it must be intentionally appealing to children.
The ecig industry was quick to defend their flavor varieties with the first defense coming from Jason Healy, the president of Blu Cigs. He claimed that the average age of consumers using cherry flavored ecigs was in the high 40s. Soon after, a popular ecig forum published a survey of more than 10,000 vapers to debunk the Rockefeller Rule. The survey included data collected this summer from vapers aged 18 and up. The participants included people from around the world, but 78 percent lived in the United States. Forbes reports that 74 percent of participants were between 22 and 54 years old.
Participants were asked which ecig flavors were most often used and the results were completely contradictory to Rockefeller’s claims. Only 22 percent regularly used tobacco flavored e-liquids and 3 percent preferred menthol. The overwhelming majority preferred alternative flavors, with 75 percent reporting use of flavors other than tobacco and menthol. In fact, 31 percent predominantly used fruit flavors, 19 percent used dessert flavors, and 5 percent use savory or spicy flavors.
According to the New York Times, there are now more than 7,000 available flavors and 250 new flavors are introduced to the market every month. The variety of flavor options is extremely important for smokers that are hoping to quit with the help of ecigs. The new survey also offers a look at how flavors impact smoking cessation. A surprising 89 percent of participants claimed to have smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily before they started using ecigs. Since they began vaping, 88 percent say they are no longer smoking cigarettes at all.
The idea that vaping can drastically improve success with smoking cessation is not new. In fact, another study published earlier this year surveyed 19,000 ecig users. Results showed that 80 percent of smokers quit smoking completely once they started using ecigs and the remaining participants reduced cigarette use from 20 per day to only four.
With an abundance of research to back claims that ecigs are an effective alternative to help smokers kick the habit, it is frustrating to see politicians like Rockefeller attack ecig companies and question their motives. Criticizing flavored e-liquids is really counterproductive. The vast majority of ecig users report that they tried tobacco flavors in the beginning, but preferred other flavors in order to continue vaping long-term in an effort to quit smoking. Many vapers report switching between multiple flavors each day, claiming the variety helped them stay consistent to using ecigs rather than falling back into old cigarette habits.
If Rockefeller and other politicians truly want to help smokers quit, they should begin attacking tobacco companies and leave ecigs alone. The very flavors that Rockefeller wants to eliminate are offering smokers an alternative that works.
Which ecig flavors do you use most often? Do you think ecigs should be restricted to flavors like tobacco and menthol?