Flavoured e-liquid is under attack from politicians and vested interests. In America, the Land of the Free, flavours are being banned state by state, and the Food and Drug Administration has already forced pod makers into removing many of their flavoured offerings available in other countries.
When Massachusetts banned juice flavours, Professor Michael Siegel commented that it was clear what the move would lead to: “This ban is going to cause many ex-smokers to return to cigarette smoking. Ex-smokers who rely upon flavoured e-liquids to stay off cigarettes are going to return to smoking in large numbers. The majority of those who don’t will turn to black-market e-liquids.”
This wasn’t just Siegel’s opinion; the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Illegal Tobacco Task Force also predicted an increase in smuggling activity and black-market sales.
When it comes to legislation elsewhere in the world, what America does tends to feed into policies. The European Lung Foundation [link] lent heavily on “evidence” used in the United States, which in turn fed into the policy decisions being made in Europe. This is all the more worrying as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany are all supportive of the move to abolish flavours across the EU.
The kind of research they rely upon is typified by “In vitro and in vivo cardiac toxicity of flavoured electronic nicotine delivery systems”. It focussed on smothering cell cultures with liquid in a petri dish and then killing mice – neither of which reflected how vapers use electronic devices.
Fortunately, although it is being ignored by many legislators at the moment, real evidence is amassing that supports having a broad range of flavours on the market. Oddly enough, one of the latest studies comes from the Boston University School of Public Health in Massachusetts.
Researchers found that “non-tobacco flavours, daily vaping and modifiable e-cigarette devices” actually help smokers remain cigarette free and support those who are smoking and vaping to transition to exclusive e-cigarette use. see source
So, a ban on flavours would impact the numbers of smokers quitting and drive many ex-smokers who vape back to smoking. It would also have a disastrous impact on vape businesses and sales of e-liquid from other outlets.
An economic study conducted by the New York Association of Convenience Stores and Regional Economic Models Inc. found a ban would deepen the budget deficit in the state of New York and cost businesses around £360 million in lost sales and devastate employment figures with the loss of 1,200 jobs. [link]
When vaping began to take off at the turn of the last decade, the e-liquid market was dominated by small independent companies set up by vapers. The wide range of flavours came into being because we all have different taste buds and different things work for different people. While the UK is very supportive of tobacco harm reduction, it is clear the ideological fight is continuing on the world stage – let’s hope that common sense prevails.