Over the years, we’ve done several experiments with unusual vape flavours. Very often we’ve done this for a bit of fun, but sometimes the outcomes have surprised us. A good couple of years ago, for example, we went to Cheapest E Cig Starter Kit with a small range of very unusual flavours. One of these was barbecue sauce flavour. As you’d expect, a lot of people absolutely hated it. But one elderly man told us it was the first thing he’d tasted since having a stroke.
The same occurred having a Voop Juice range we designed for April Fool’s day. These juices were deliberately made to taste awful, and I found the Cheese and Onion flavour disgusting. But some people actually liked it. The point is, there’s thousands of flavours on the market now. Some are unusual, and appeal to a tiny audience, but the main benefit of this really is that, regardless of what your taste preference is, there’ll be something available that you’ll love. And that’s important, as the more you love vaping, and the further you move away from tobacco flavours, the not as likely you happen to be to go back to smoking.
Considering the fact that there’s a ridiculous variety of vaping studies being published nowadays, there’s not a huge amount of research on the need for flavours in: There is some, though. Market research of over 4000 vapers, lead by Konstantinos Farsalinos in 2013, learned that 48.5% of vapers felt that restricting flavours would increase cravings for cigarettes, while 39.7% felt that fewer flavours makes it less likely for them to stop smoking.
Ever since then, non-tobacco flavours have grown to be more essential in initiation. In Konstantinos’ original survey, nearly all vapers started vaping with tobacco flavours, but a much more recent survey which considered the flavour preferences of more than 70,000 vapers discovered that non-tobacco flavours (in the united states) were the predominant choice when starting vaping. The study concluded that banning flavours could lead to a decrease in people starting vaping and an increase in people switching back from vaping to smoking.
This really is supported by research by Russell et al, which found that menthol and tobacco flavours now rank in 5th and 6th place amongst adult vapers. In a press conference organised from the New Nicotine Alliance, Russell talked further about the results, saying:
“Evidence from our own studies suggest that a significantly higher proportion of smokers who prefer to vape non-tobacco flavors continue to completely quit smoking cigarettes within 3 months.”
In other words, non-tobacco flavours lead to a higher effectiveness when switching completely from smoking to vaping. This has been supported with a more recent study by Buckell et al (published as this post was first written). Using a discrete choice experiment with other 2000 adult vapers, the authors found a flavour ban on e-cigarettes would cause a rise in smoking rates.
Another smaller study by Pacek et al surveyed 240 teenagers who dual use (both vape and smoke). Inside their survey, 17% of young vapers said they could smoke more if flavours were restricted to tobacco and menthol.
The concept that specific flavours might be important is backed up by industry research by JUUL, which learned that vapers who used Mint or Menthol were 23% very likely to change to vaping as opposed to those who used tobacco flavours.
Could flavours assist dual vapers? Not everybody switches to vaping immediately. In the end, your first puff on an smokeless cigarette doesn’t mean your last puff on a tobacco cigarette. Studies have shown that 46% of dual vapers have jtsedy switched to electronic cigarettes following a year, however for others it can take much longer.
My experience is that flavours can help dual vapers retain interest. I’ve seen people who continue to smoke a few cigarettes each day experiment a whole lot with assorted flavours. If flavours may help retain interest, then dual vapers will smoke less, hopefully not get back to 100% smoking and eventually switch to 100% vaping. Perhaps, for some, it’s just a matter of finding that perfect e-liquid (and with 1000s of flavours on the market, which takes some time).