Study Finds Flavored E-Liquids are Important in Helping Smokers Quit
This is the first data looking at flavored e-liquids, with over 20,000 vapers participating in the study. Flavored e-liquid has been under increased criticism in the last year, a high-profile citywide ban on flavoring even passed in San Francisco in June. However, this study showcases many of the arguments made by vapor advocates countering calls for regulation and prohibition.
“The results show that non-tobacco flavors, especially fruit-based flavors, are being increasingly preferred to tobacco flavors by adult vapers who have completely switched from combustible cigarettes to vapor products,” said Dr. Christopher Russell, Deputy Director of the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), who led the research, according to Eureka Alert.
One thing that sets this study apart is its size. Of 20,836 that participated, 15,807, or about 76.4 percent switched from being regular smokers to using vapor products. The 5,000 remaining vapers continued to “dual use” both vapor products and combustible cigarettes.
Of those surveyed, 82.9 percent used fruit flavors and 68.5 percent reported enjoying dessert flavors. Tobacco and menthol flavors ranked 5th and 6th, respectively – well below other flavor profiles. This reinforces a belief that’s long been held about flavored e-liquid by vapor advocates: that vapers quit cigarettes and pick up vaping because they like the taste of fruity and sweet flavors more than they like the taste of tobacco.
The study even took it one step further. Researchers looked at which flavor vapers used when they first pick up vapor products. The results show a huge jump in popularity for fruit flavors and a steep shift away from tobacco-flavored vapor products. Fruits went from 17.8 percent of products sold to first-time purchasers before 2011 to 33.5 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. By contrast, tobacco-flavored e-liquid was cut in half during this time from 46.0 percent before 2011, to 24.0 percent between 2015-2016.
“The data suggest that U.S. vapers’ journeys towards quitting smoking are increasingly likely to start with, progress to, or be sustained by frequent use of vaping devices containing non-tobacco flavors,” concludes Dr. Russell.
These results also reinforce another argument that people who vape and vapor advocates have made for years: banning flavored e-liquids would drive ex-smokers who now vape back to combustible cigarettes. It also gives a comprehensive overview of a familiar adult population of vapers that are attracted to vaping specifically for its taste and a majority of whom have used their love of flavors to make a swift transition away from smoking.