New research publish in Human Reduction Journal shows that flavors play a critical role in attracting- and retaining- smokers into the vaping category, directly contributing to tobacco harm reduction. As vaping grows in popularity, studies have shown that the habit encourages adult smokers to quit the older, nastier version.
"The results show that non-tobacco flavors, especially fruit-based flavors, are being increasingly preferred to tobacco flavours by adult vapers who have completely switched from combustible cigarettes to vapor products," said lead author Christopher Russell, Deputy Director of Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR).
Of the 20,836 adult frequent e-vapour product users in the survey, nearly 16,000 had completely switched to from smoking to vaping, while 5,000 were dual users who were smoking and using e-vapour products. In the study the most popular currently used e-vapour flavors in the US were fruit/fruit beverage where up to 82.9 percent sampled users reporting regular purchase and use of vape liquids in this category.
Tobacco and menthol flavors ranked as the 5th and 6th most popular currently used flavors. The researchers also looked at the flavor first time users typically used when starting to vape.
"The data suggest that U.S. vapers' journeys towards quitting smoking are increasingly likely to start with, progress to, or be sustained by frequent use of vaping devices containing non-tobacco flavors", said Dr Russell.
The proportion of first vaping product purchases that were fruit-flavored increased from 17.8 per cent, of first purchases made before 2011, to 33.5 per cent between June 2015 and June 2016, the researchers said.
Commenting on the new research, Dr Grant O'Connell, Corporate Affairs Manager at Fontem Ventures said, "The declining popularity of tobacco flavors among adult vapers strongly suggests that flavor bans like the one recently passed in San Francisco*, could see vapers return to cigarette smoking and discourage other adult smokers from switching."
Tobacco flavored first purchases almost halved during this time from 46.0 per cent pre- 2011 to 24.0 per cent between 2015-2016.