Critics often claim that electronic cigarette companies are using fruit and candy flavors to entice children, completely overlooking the fact that adults enjoy these flavors just as much as kids. It’s an argument that vapers have been making all along – that tasty flavor varieties help them quit smoking and stay away from traditional cigarettes. Rather than pointing out this helpful benefit, the media often focuses on “the children” and anti-smoking groups’ claims that e-cigs are dangerous. Well a new survey has provided some credibility to the vaping community, suggesting that a wide variety of flavors may be beneficial. And it’s more evidence that strong regulations (like limiting electronic cigarette flavors) will do more harm than good.
Alcohol companies have been offering fruit and candy-flavored liquor drinks for years. Varieties such as “Fruit Loop”, “Cupcake”, “Fluffed Marshmallow” and “Strawberry Shortcake” are just some of the options lining the shelves at most local convenience stores. Yet critics are quick to slam electronic cigarettes, charging the industry with targeting children and providing a “gateway” product that will eventually lead to smoking. There are lots of reasons this claim is just plain ridiculous, but when it comes to the critics’ primary complaint… IT’S THE SWEET AND FRUITY FLAVORS.
E-Cig Flavors “Very Important” to Adults
But a new survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that the flavorings used in e-cigarettes play a major role in the overall experience of dedicated (adult) users and supports the hypothesis that they are important contributors in reducing or eliminating smoking consumption. The team of researchers, led by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, researcher at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Greece, developed the survey with the aim of determining how important flavors are to vapers. They asked questions concerning:
- Users’ favorite flavors
- How frequently they switched flavors
- Reasons for using multiple flavors
- Importance of flavor variability
Over 15 days, 4,618 participants were gathered from online forums, social media websites and advocacy groups on SurveyMonkey.com. Participation was open to any vaper – regardless of age and previous or current smoking status. Of the participants, more than 90% were former smokers, the mean age was 40 years old and the respondents were predominantly male.
Overview of the Survey Findings
The survey produced some interesting results, especially when it comes to adults’ view of e-cigarette flavors and how they impact their vaping experience.
- Most vapers prefer fruity and sweet flavors, especially those who have completely quit smoking
- 69.4% preferred fruit flavors, 61.4% chose other sweet varieties and 43.9% tobacco flavors
- Drink-themed flavors were the next most popular, followed by menthol
- Tobacco flavors were more popular with current smokers and first-time users
- Almost 7 out of 10 participants changed flavors at least once per day, and this was more prevalent among former smokers
- The majority of participants prefer a wide range of flavors and think it’s a “very important” factor when trying to quit or reduce smoking
- About half of the participants said restricting flavors would increase their craving for tobacco
- Current smokers in the survey had reduced their cigarette consumption from an average of 20 to 4 cigarettes per day after using e-cigarettes – an 80 percent reduction
What It All Means…
Most vapers are familiar with the path outlined in this survey; first-time users almost always start out with tobacco flavors, and as they become more accustomed to electronic cigarettes and vaping technology, they move on to sweet and fruity flavors. The survey also suggests that transitioning to new flavors may actually reduce the craving for traditional cigarettes. Tobacco and menthol may act as a good transition, but users almost always experiment and move on to other varieties. More importantly, the survey finds that adult users see these flavors as an IMPORTANT FACTOR in their ability quit smoking and would find it more difficult to stay away from cigarettes if their options were restricted.
Although a definitive study may be warranted, the survey was published in a peer-reviewed academic journal and it’s findings can’t be overlooked. The fact that ex-smokers change flavors regularly and prefer options other than tobacco supports the suggestion that flavor varieties (especially the sweet and fruity options that anti-smoking groups are trying to ban) are an important factor in helping smokers quit. It should come as no surprise that teens are attracted in e-cigs, but there is no evidence to suggest that flavors perpetuate teen usage. Creating age restrictions is one thing, but to limit adults’ options when there is a clear link between flavor variety and successful smoking cessation, may actually do more harm than good. WE VOTE FOR FREEDOM! WE VOTE FOR FLAVORS!