• The array of e-cigarette flavours has been instrumental in their success as a smoking cessation method
  • Demonising flavours in some jurisdictions is a threat to global public health
  • Experts agree that flavours are key to tempting smokers to try safer products”, warned the consumer charity.

The NNA and other leading experts at the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw,  – an event featuring over 500 delegates from academic, research, industry and consumer organisations, said that banning flavours from being sold, would be a deterrent to the increasing number of smokers who are quitting by switching to the proven safer alternatives.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking. The UK boasts 1.7 million former smokers who have converted from smoking to exclusively vaping instead. Flavours have been a big driver of that success, by distancing smokers from tobacco and providing an incentive to switch, with a wide selection of different options to suit their preferences”, said NNA Chair Martin Cullip, who hosted a briefing at the GFN on the subject.

Banning flavours would be counterproductive

“The evidence suggests flavours are one of a few key components, important to both the new vaper and the experienced vaper, which help people abstain from smoking.”

Sharon Cox, Research Fellow at London South Bank University, concurred, “Policy needs to reflect real user behaviour, be context specific, make best use of evidence, and involve consumers to serve the public to make informed choices. The evidence suggests flavours are one of a few key components, important to both the new vaper and the experienced vaper, which help people abstain from smoking.”

James Dunworth, owner of Welsh retailer E-Cigarette Direct, pointed out why flavours are important. “Vaping works because it’s fun. Take the pleasure out of vaping and it will stop working. Key to that pleasure is flavour. Because of demand, there are a huge number of flavours, meaning there’s something for everyone – and when someone finds their perfect flavour, they’re highly unlikely to go back to smoking.”

In line with this, a UK study released last September had confirmed that e-cigarettes are far more effective at helping smokers quit than traditional remedies like nicotine patches and gum. It had also confirmed what vapers had been saying for years – that flavours play a large role in the effectiveness of vaping.

Research indicates that flavours are key for switching

Dr Christopher Russell from the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), which had carried this research, spoke about the findings. “There is growing evidence that suggests adult smokers increasingly prefer to use vapour products that are not flavoured like tobacco. Evidence from our own research suggests that a significantly higher proportion of smokers who prefer to vape non-tobacco flavours go on to completely quit smoking cigarettes within three months.”

“Restricting adult smokers’ access to flavoured vaping products would therefore very likely result in fewer smokers trying vaping as an alternative to continuing to smoke, in substantially fewer smokers attempting to switch to vaping, and ultimately, in substantially fewer smokers succeeding in their attempt to switch to vaping,” added Russell.

The theme of the GFN 2019 was ‘It’s time to talk about nicotine’ and it aimed to “examine how attitudes towards the use of nicotine are changing” and also explore “some of its more positive and potentially beneficial uses.”

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