E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Enticing E-Liquid Flavors Help Smokers Quit, Cohort Study Finds

According to a new scientific study from the Yale School of Public Health, enticing e-liquid flavors like desserts and fruits are more likely help smokers quit compared to tobacco flavors.

While several U.S. states and a number of other countries, including the Netherlands and Australia, have announced or already implemented a ban on e-liquid flavors, scientific evidence that enticing flavors like sweets and fruits are pushing youths to smoking is lacking. In fact, most research available right now clearly shows that vaping is not a gateway to smoking for youths and that it’s adult vapers who actually prefer such flavors.

In an attempt to shed more light on the association between e-liquid flavors and subsequent smoking initiation and cessation, a team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health conducted a massive cohort study with 17 929 participants and arrived to a very interesting conclusion: not only was vaping non-tobacco flavors not associated with increased youth smoking initiation, but it actually seemed to increase adults’ chances of quitting smoking.

“In this study, adults who began vaping nontobacco-flavored e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those who vaped tobacco flavors,” the authors concluded. “More research is needed to establish the relationship between e-cigarette flavors and smoking and to guide related policy.”

“Vaping nontobacco flavors was no more associated with youth smoking initiation than vaping tobacco-flavors, but was associated with increased adult smoking cessation,” the authors added.

Abigail Friedman and SiQing Xu, who co-authored this study, point out that in light of these findings banning e-liquid flavors outright may be “too blunt of an instrument” and may even negatively affect smokers’ chances of giving up the addictive, life-threatening habit.

“This study’s findings suggest that efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes could increase smoking: nontobacco flavors were no more strongly associated with youth smoking initiation than tobacco flavors but were more strongly associated with adult cessation,” the study mentions.

The authors note that the odds of cessation for study participants who favored non-tobacco flavors were 2.3 times greater than for those who vaped tobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes. Because smoking cessation has a substantial effect on public health, especially when it occurs before the age of 35, increased cessation among people aged 18 to 54 has very positive implications.

Interestingly, this study was published in the JAMA Network Journal a month ago today, but was not picked up by a single major news outlet. I learned of its existence by chance when reading an article on a proposed flavor-ban bill in New Zealand. It cited this massive cohort study that I had never heard of, asking legislators to follow the science instead of their fears.

“We just want our Government to follow the evidence, not the emotion,” Ben Pryor, co-owner of VAPO and Alt, New Zealand’s largest vape brands, said. “As the researchers conclude ‘increasing smoking cessation among individuals aged 18 to 54 years has substantive implications for population health’. The way to achieve that is to ensure a wide range of vape flavors are available to smokers keen to quit deadly tobacco. Adults love flavors and they work!”

Sadly, that’s not how things work in real life. Legislators rarely base their decisions on scientific facts, opting instead to do the things that they think would earn them most votes or crucial funding. It’s not like this research doesn’t have its limitations, it certainly does, but it’s part of an entire literature on e-liquid flavors which generally suggests that adults like enticing vape flavors a lot more than tobacco ones, and that it’s not flavors that makes youths take up vaping. And yet legislators are trying to convince us that flavors are pushing out kids to smoking and actively trying to ban them…

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