One of the draws for ex-tobacco smokers to vaping is the range of flavours which are available to them. With these flavours come a sudden freedom, previously unobtainable in the limited world of tobacco. With tobacco you are faced with two flavour options: Menthol or tobacco flavours. With vaping the possibilities of flavours are endless and become ever more creative by the day. This has meant that ex-smokers who have turned to vaping are faced with a sea of choice, their minds suddenly widened to the rich world of vape flavours. This has attracted many to join the ever snowballing vape community, enticed by the endless possibilities the flavours represent. And what’s more, it’s still growing! Every year more and more fun and exciting flavours are released, from the off the wall mixes to the home comfort tastes of nostalgia.
There’s a snag though. In recent months, Manhattan lawmakers have signed a bill allowing the sale and distribution of flavoured e cigarettes to be banned. Their reasoning? That sweet flavoured e cigarette flavours are supposed to appeal to children. The dessert flavoured vape juices, they argue, are packaged and designed to appeal to young children and entice the underage into vaping. Many anti vapers see vaping as a gateway to smoking, not as a smoking cessation tool and view dessert flavours as an insidious plot to draw in young users and get them hooked.
This worry has gained publicity since the introduction of a My First Vape meme, showing a child vaping a toy-like device. Dismissed as a dark internet joke, this fictional meme nevertheless got people talking about the way products are marketed and so Manhattan anti-vaping lobbyists seem to have latched on to this concern.
The truth can be found in science studies undertaken which have explored the effects of vape flavours on the habits of ex-smokers. Studies have agreed that vaping should be kept well away from children but that an outright ban on flavours could push away adult customers who may return to the far unhealthier habit of smoking.
A study from the Yale School of Public Health has showed that recent smokers had a preference to fruit and sweet flavoured vape juices, meaning that a ban on these flavours may deter smokers using the product as a smoking cessation tool. Using 2000 adult smokers, the school of public health found that there was a trend in flavour preference for recent and current smokers. This shows how useful these flavours can be when used responsibly.
When it comes to the marketing it can be argued that these products are merely packaging their products to reflect the flavours. A custard pie flavour vape juice will evoke memories of custard pie and so will packaged as such. The implications of their target audience are not child orientated then, but marketed as per flavour. All vape juices and devices clearly state the age restrictions, as do the company websites concreting their views on quelling underage vaping.
Where should the flavour ban be aimed then
Critics of the Manhattan bill are coming out of the public health and vaping community and saying that instead of focussing the ban on vape flavours, they should be focussing it on the flavours available to tobacco based cigarettes. These mostly include Menthol flavours, which studies have shown the ban of, would cause a 4.8 percent reduction in smokers. Some smokers only like the menthol flavour cigarettes, and so banning these would either lead them to quit nicotine entirely or would bring more to the far healthier vaping community.