Removing e-liquid flavours from sale threatens the proven success of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers switch, warns the New Nicotine Alliance.

Banning flavours in e-cigarettes could be detrimental to public health, warned leading consumer charity, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) at the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw today.

The role of e-liquid flavours in vaping and their impact on smoking cessation has been the focus of much discussion in public health, scientific and media circles around the world. The NNA argues that removing all flavours except tobacco would be a disastrous move.

Speaking today in Warsaw, the NNA and other leading experts stated that removing flavours from sale would be a deterrent to the increasing number of smokers who are successfully quitting by choosing the less harmful alternatives.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking. The UK boasts 1.7 million former smokers who have converted from smoking to exclusively vaping instead. Flavours have been a big driver of that success, by distancing smokers from tobacco and providing an incentive to switch, with a wide selection of different options to suit their preferences”, said Martin Cullip, Chair of the NNA, who today hosted a briefing at the GFN on the subject.

The GFN brings together over 500 delegates from across scientific, consumer and industry sectors worldwide for a 3-day conference focused on the role of safer nicotine products in helping smokers quit.

James Dunworth, UKVIA member and owner of Welsh retailer E-Cigarette Direct, explained: “Vaping works because it’s fun. Take the pleasure out of vaping and it will stop working. Key to that pleasure is flavour. Because of demand, there are a huge number of flavours, meaning there’s something for everyone – and when someone finds their perfect flavour, they’re highly unlikely to go back to smoking.”

Studies by the Centre for Substance Use Research have found that there is a significant preference for non-tobacco flavours amongst smokers, as deputy Director, Dr Christopher Russell explained:

“There is growing evidence that suggests adult smokers increasingly prefer to use vapour products that are not flavoured like tobacco. Evidence from our own research suggests that a significantly higher proportion of smokers who prefer to vape non-tobacco flavours go on to completely quit smoking cigarettes within three months.

“Restricting adult smokers’ access to flavoured vaping products would therefore very likely result in fewer smokers trying vaping as an alternative to continuing to smoke, in substantially fewer smokers attempting to switch to vaping, and ultimately, in substantially fewer smokers succeeding in their attempt to switch to vaping” he added.

Consumer advocate, Nancy Sutthoff agreed: “The availability of choice is what makes using safer nicotine products so effective – especially when it comes to flavours.

“Most people who switch go through a learning curve, and a range of flavours that the individual enjoys make the process simpler and more enjoyable. Personally, I know that being able to vape a flavour that I enjoyed helped me immensely in leaving behind my tobacco habit.”