The problem with sweet e-liquid flavours (study)
New research published in the BMJ Tobacco Control journal has highlighted one potential issue with sweet-flavoured e-liquids.
The problem is that advertisements featuring traditionally ‘sweet’ tastes (such as chocolate) are much more appealing to school kids than the standard e-cigarettes with no flavour.
A team of researchers at Cambridge split 598 school-age children into three groups. One group was shown a series of ads with non-flavoured e-cigarettes, another was shown ads with candy-flavoured e-cigs, and the third group acted as a control, and were shown no advertisements.
After a series of follow-up questions, the children who had been shown the advertisements with the sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes showed a higher interest in purchasing and trying the products than either of the other two groups.
That said, the advertisements showed no significant difference in the appeal of either e-cigarettes or tobacco products overall, which resulted in one of the researchers saying they were “cautiously optimistic from our results that e-cigarette advertisements don’t make tobacco smoking more attractive”.
The problem then is that some people believe that the existence and marketing of sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes (and e-liquids) may encourage younger people to try these products. This, naturally, is viewed by anti-vaping groups as a potential gateway for children to take up the significantly more harmful habit of combustible tobacco smoking.
At this stage however, those beliefs remain simply as beliefs. There is currently no definitive evidence suggesting that the use of sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes – or even e-cigarettes in general – leads to the uptake of tobacco. Conversely, there is plenty of data showing the high rate of tobacco smokers who have taken up vaping to both help them reduce the amount of tobacco consumption and encourage them to quit altogether.