Last year the US announced a countrywide ban on some flavoured e-liquids over concerns they were contributing to the uptake of vaping among young people.
The Food and Drug Administrations has essentially banned 6 million flavoured vapes in the US, denying 300 companies’ applications to continue selling e-cigarettes with certain flavours
There’s no sign of a ban coming to the UK but it’s started a conversation about flavoured e-liquids and whether they should be allowed.
Banning flavoured e-liquids in the UK would be a big mistake for people for a few simple reasons.
It’s already a heavily restricted industry
Unlike the US, the UK vaping industry faces heavy restrictions on advertising to young people.
In the UK, it’s illegal to sell any vaping products to anyone under the age of 18.
If a supplier is caught selling to anyone underage, to their knowledge or not, they could face hefty fines of up to £2,500.
It’s also illegal for any advertisements for products to feature anyone who appears to be under the age of 25.
Despite this, the number of underage users in the country has increased in recent years.
It’s reported that 11.7% of 11-17 year olds have tried e-cigarettes at least, according to findings by ASH.
There’s the risk of smokers going back to tobacco cigarettes
All the research shows that ex-smokers who take up vaping alongside face-to-face treatments are far more likely to quit smoking for good.
Queen Mary University of London followed smokers who’d previously been unable to quit using different nicotine replacement methods.
The 135 smokers who participated in the study were chosen at random to receive either an 8 week course of a nicotine replacement therapy of their choice or an e-cigarette starter pack, with instructions to purchase further e-liquids of strengths and flavours of their choice.
The results found a significant difference in smoking reduction and even quitting altogether in the e-cigarette group.
After six months, in the e-cigarette group, 27% of the participants had reduced their smoking by at least half, compared to 6% of participants in the NRT group.
One of the main reasons ex-smokers stick to vapes is because of the flavours and the fact they can find one they like and stick with it while they tail off the nicotine levels.
In another report by PHE, statistics show that nicotine vaping products were the most popular among tobacco smokers who were trying to quit in England during 2020.
Restricting flavours could risk this progress though:
Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol studies at Nottingham University, agreed that flavours are really important to smokers.
He said that “if you restrict the flavours, you may restrict the tolerability of vaping to people trying it for the first time, but you will also lose an awful lot of smokers.”
Vaping has plateaued in the UK
The number of people taking up vaping in the UK is staying consistent and there’s been no significant increase (or decrease) in the past couple of years, and similar to 2019’s report, 6% of adults in the UK are current vapers.
This equates to about 2.7 million vapers who’re over the age of 18.
At the same time, smoking prevalence continues to fall across the country and is around 11% among former smokers.
Benefits of flavoured vapes far outweigh any risks
No matter the way you look at it, vaping is a lot safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.
They don’t contain tar, carbon monoxide or any other of the 4000 cancer causing chemicals you find in traditional cigarettes.
Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful, they aren’t totally risk free and according to the NHS, the liquid and vapor can contain some of the same chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
One of the main reasons they’re so effective is because ex-smokers can choose a flavour they enjoy and find themselves turning to that rather than cigarettes.
Taking away that choice for smokers could risk the decrease in smoking.
When taking the concern for young people taking up vaping into consideration, it’s safe to say there’s no real risk of them taking it up in great numbers, and there’s plenty restrictions in place to make sure this doesn’t happen
There’s plenty of restrictions in place to make sure this doesn’t happen.
In their report, ASH mentions that 77.7% of 11-17 year olds have never tried vaping and 10.5% were unaware of e-cigarettes.
Banning flavoured e-liquids will cause more harm than good
With the proof we’ve got of how effective e-cigarettes are for helping people quit smoking and create healthier futures for themselves, why would we want to move further towards taking them away?
If you’re thinking about embarking on your stop smoking journey, visit a professional vape product supplier, like Cloudstix, for more information on how e-cigarettes can help.