Health & Studies

The Effect of Vape Flavour Bans

With a new government in place, the recent publication of three research papers looking at vape flavours couldn’t be timelier – here Planet of the Vapes looks at the first

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With a new government in place, the recent publication of three research papers looking at vape flavours couldn’t be timelier. In this article, Planet of the Vapes looks at the first, The Effect of E-Cigarette Flavor Bans on Tobacco Use by Cotti, Courtemanche, Liang, Maclean, Nesson and Sabia. The study was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The research team writes: “The vast majority of youth e-cigarette users consume flavoured e-cigarettes, raising concerns from public health advocates that flavours may drive youth initiation into and continued use of e-cigarettes.

Flavours drew further notice from the public health community following the sudden outbreak of lung injury among vapers in 2019, prompting several [American] states to enact sweeping bans on flavoured e-cigarettes.”

Despite vaping being blamed initially for the injuries, experts quickly realised that Vitamin E Acetate was the primary cause of EVALI.

The UK Vaping Industry Association told Planet of the Vapes that Cancer Research UK agrees,Legal vaping products DO NOT cause EVALI or popcorn lung - both are caused by chemicals which are banned for e-cigarettes in the UK.”

The researchers examined the effects of comprehensive bans on e-cigarette use and potential spillovers into other tobacco use by youth, young adults, and adults.

They say: “E-cigarettes are available in various flavours, including fruit, candy, mint, and menthol, many of which are popular among teenagers. According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 89 percent of youths who state that they currently vape nicotine report using flavoured varieties. Among the most common flavours vaped are fruit (63 percent); candy, desserts, or other sweets (35 percent); mint (28 percent); and menthol (20 percent). At the time of writing, sales of disposable e-cigarettes in so-called ‘youth- appealing flavours’ are higher than pre-filled units (Ali, 2023), owing in part to JuuL’s decision to voluntarily remove mango, creme, fruit, mint, and cucumber flavoured cartridges from retail stores in November 2018 and online in October 2019.”

Referencing the bans, they write: “With the goal of curbing ENDS use among young people, by 2023 nine states, the District of Columbia, and over 370 sub-state localities had adopted policies restricting the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes. Minneapolis was the first large city in the U.S. to adopt an ENDS flavour restriction on January 1, 2016, while Massachusetts was the first state to adopt a statewide ENDS flavour restriction on September 24, 2019.”

Concluding, the authors state that while young adults might decrease their use of the banned flavoured e-cigarettes (and overall e-cigarette use), the trade-off was increasing cigarette use.

The say: “Our findings suggest that statewide comprehensive flavour bans may have generated an unintended consequence by encouraging substitution towards traditional smoking in some populations.”

If you would like to write to your MP about how important flavours were to your quitting smoking:

  • The various government websites are currently being updated with details of the new MPs. Keep checking this one so you can write directly to yours:
  • Also, you can write to Wes Streeting at the Department for Health at the following address - Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries Unit, Department of Health and Social Care, 39 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0EU
  • You can send an email to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care here: [email protected].


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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