Role of Flavors in Vaping Uptake and Cessation Among New Zealand Smokers and Non-Smokers: A Cross-Sectional Study

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Flavors play a significant role in vaping initiation for current and former smokers and remain important to those who continue vaping. Regulation must allow flavor diversity to encourage vaping as a substitution for smoking as a harm reduction strategy. Limits on marketing and advertisements can prevent vaping uptake among non-smokers and youth.

Regulating vaping flavors could disrupt the harm reduction movement of smoking to vaping. Flavors may be pivotal to vaping uptake, which plays a crucial role in reducing smoking prevalence. Limiting vaping flavors could make switching more difficult and may foster relapse to smoking. Reducing flavor options could also lead people to mix their own flavors, putting them at risk of adverse outcomes.

In an online survey of 1,005 New Zealanders aged 18–70 years, respondents were asked their reasons for vaping. Current smokers and former smokers reported that e-cigarette flavors played a major role in vaping initiation, and in continued vaping.

Associations between demographic attributes and e-cigarette flavor preferences were mixed. However, these findings provide evidence that e-cigarette flavors, particularly fruit flavors, are more important to younger people than to older people. These findings are consistent with other studies highlighting the importance of flavors to young people.

Irrespective of smoking status, flavor was one of the main reasons respondents gave for vaping. From a list of 12 possible reasons, smokers who reported current vaping cited flavor appeal as their main reason for vaping. The flavor was less important to past vapers. Fruit flavors were the most popular among the groups. Smokers also favored tobacco flavor, while former smokers also favored mint or menthol.

Limiting seductive e-cigarette flavor marketing can balance smokers’ needs and public health against the risk of uptake among young non-smokers.

Access the full study HERE

Feature Charticle

Favorite E-Cigarette Flavors Among Current Vapers 

Tobacco Control

Findings:

  • Current smokers and former smokers reported that e-cigarette flavors played a major role in vaping initiation, and in continued vaping. 
  • Fruit flavors were the most popular among the groups. Smokers also favored tobacco flavor, while former smokers also favored mint or menthol.
  • Limiting seductive e-cigarette flavor marketing can balance smokers’ needs and public health against the risk of uptake among young non-smokers.

Access the full study HERE