The authors of this paper carried out the research together with a selection of doctors and other medical practitioners via the Internet and also incorporated information from previously published studies.
The report begins by giving the background and the reason why it was deemed important to carry out the research. The authors noted that the number of flavour options open to vapers has increased dramatically.
It goes on to state that there scare stories are frequently being placed into the media claiming that these flavours will act as a gateway to lure children into smoking. Also, anti-ecig groups have jumped onto the bandwagon by stating that ecigarette companies are using these flavours on purpose as a marketing tool to appeal to children in order to boost sales.
The paper highlights the well-known fact that smoking-related diseases will count for an estimated 1,000,000,000+ deaths during this century. It goes on to repeat that nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) have a poor level of success in aiding smokers to quit.
The American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has claimed there is potential for flavours to attract youngsters. The position taken by the FDA is due to research carried out by Lewis and Wackowski where they stated that young people were attracted to the idea of flavoured cigarettes.
The report counters this with the work carried out by Dawkins, Turner, Roberts and Soar where they found that about 50% of vapers use non-tobacco flavours. Recent articles online cite the figure to be much higher with 80% of juice sales being for non-tobacco flavours.
The reason for the low figure could be due to the study requiring online consent and removed multiple entries sharing the same IP addresses. This immediately discounts households containing more than one vaper and also restricted the survey to vapers invited from Internet forums.
- 4,618 people completed the survey
- 4,515 stating their current smoking status
- 91% of those surveyed were former smokers with the remaining smokers had used ecigs as a tool to reduce their smoking down to 4 a day compared to previously smoking an average of 20 a day
- Most of those taking part live in the USA or Europe
- Some responses were recorded from Asia and Australia
- The average vaper taking part was male, University-educated and 40yrs-old
- 74% of vapers used third generation mods
- 25% used Ego-style devices and the rest used cigalikes
- Vapers average a use of three different flavours
- Ex-smokers tended to switch the juice they vaped more often during the day
- Current smokers tend to stick to one type of flavour during the day, which indicates the use of an ecig that resembles a cigarette
- Fruit flavours were the most popular
- On a scale of one to five, ecigarette users averaged that flavour ranked as a ‘4’ meaning very important in helping them to quit smoking
- Almost half said that reducing flavours would make ecigs boring
- Over a third said that without the variety of flavours they would either have been less likely to or not have tried ecigs at all.
People expressed a preference for a variety of flavours as a single flavour became dull if used constantly over a period of time. The report also notes that many people expressed a dislike of the smell and taste of tobacco and preferred flavours as their sense of taste and smell returned due to quitting cigarettes.
The report also draws attention to the high use of 3rd generation mods popularity as the higher energy it gives to the coil leads to a greater release of nicotine and more immediate sense of satisfaction. It also notes that the less educated vaper is not fairly represented in the study and that this may impact on the findings.
It concludes that by reducing the range of flavours available is likely to lead to an increase in the craving for a cigarette and that the fact that the range of flavours are currently used and enjoyed is justification enough for them to be used in the future.
It notes that there are a statistically insignificant number of non-smokers taking up vaping (and this includes children). It suggests that, rather than banning flavours, people making laws simply ban access to ecigarettes for children.