In a press conference yesterday (September 11th 2019) President Trump announced his administration is planning to ban flavoured vaping products across the United States, citing the potential for young people to use these products and the recent bout of illnesses purportedly linked to vaping. It must be noted that this reasoning alone is incorrect – many respected researchers have already debunked the so-called “gateway theory” (regular youth usage of vaping products in the UK remains at negligible levels) and the outbreak of illnesses in the US is related to black market THC (cannabis) products, not nicotine-containing vaping products helping smokers to quit.
Flavours are a key component of e-liquid and one of the main reasons why have been able to quit tobacco consumption where other attempts to stop have failed, like NRT. A study undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos found that the restricting flavour variability would make vaping less enjoyable for ex-smokers, with 48.5 per cent highlighting that it would increase their cravings for cigarettes, and 39.7 per cent saying that it would have been less likely for them to reduce or quit smoking.
Research has consistently shown that prohibiting flavours would be likely to severely limit the appeal of vaping products to adult smokers looking to switch. Removing flavours from vaping products will only hurt smokers, and create a thriving black market for these products hidden from regulators.
We urge public health communities and policymakers across the world to follow the lead of Public Health England which is guided by sound scientific evidence, unlike President Trump’s reactionary politics.