The new study concludes that sweetly flavored e-liquids have a significant impact on the ability of a vaper to stay committed
Every year we lose more people from smoking than anything else that we can easily prevent. Even after the last 30+ years of robust tobacco control efforts, we still are in dire need of new and effective ways to wean smokers off cigarettes. This is one of the primary reasons why vaping has so quickly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, polls indicate that only around 13% of the general public understand vaping is much safer than smoking. As a result, vaping has faced a ton of skepticism from parents and legislators.
One of the most significant issues that these groups take with vaping is the numerous types of flavors available. For many critics, these flavors are expressly designed to lure children into a life of vaping, but what these critics forget is that adults like sweet treats too! In fact, we finally have solid research which proves the large selection of vaping flavors significantly improve an individual’s ability to commit to the switch.
The New Report
The research was conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University, led by Dr. Nils Kroemer. The team wanted to understand if the sweet flavors found in many e-liquids are increasing the chances of vaping leading to a successful quit attempt. They felt that with the growing popularity and debate over vaping, it was vital to understand once and for all if flavors have the impact that vapers say they do. They used a conditioning paradigm specifically designed to study e-cigarettes which would allow them to determine if the flavors were reinforcing an individual’s desire to vape and not smoke. Each participant was asked to try different types of vaporizers for a couple days each, before being scanned in a fMRI machine while being exposed to the sight and smell of the given vape.
After collecting all of their data, the team was able to start piecing together some interesting patterns. First and foremost, they confirmed that sweetly flavored e-liquids were both more desired and enjoyed than tobacco flavored ones. They also found that sweet flavors elicited a response in a few key ways, such as the stronger response of nucleus accumbens, and the magnitude of response to sight and smell. Alternatively, sight and smell of nicotine alone did not produce the same type of results. The team summed up their findings when they said, “Collectively, these findings demonstrate that sweet taste potentiates the reinforcing effects of nicotine in e-cigarettes resulting in heightened brain cue-reactivity.”
The FDA’s Crusade
Despite the growing amount of research into the benefits of vaping, the FDA appears to be doubling down on their poor choices regarding vaping. Over much of this year, the vaping community has been worried over an e-liquid flavor ban that the FDA is currently considering. Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb stated that they were considering a ban on all e-liquid flavors except for traditional tobacco and menthol. Many health experts and researchers have pointed out the flawed logic of the FDA but to no avail.
Things have seemingly gotten worse just recently, with just earlier this week the FDA publishing a press release detailing their resolve in the fight against teenage vaping. The statement even went as far as to suggest the FDA would abandon the millions of adult vapers in the name of preventing more kids from picking up the habit. The only problem is that research into this problem has firmly concluded that the vast majority of teens who pick up vaping full time had previously been smokers. A poll conducted by Action on Smoking and Health of over 60,000 teens found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens will ever start vaping on a regular basis. That means far fewer than 0.1% of non-smoking teens will eventually turn to tobacco.
Making this whole situation worse is how much quality research we have indicating the extreme harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping. We’ve known since 2015 thanks to Public Health England that vaping is around 95% safer than smoking. But did you know that research published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences concluded that the lifetime excess cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker? It’s not just the harm reduction value either. Researchers at the University of Louisville published work last fall which tested the effectiveness of many different smoking cessation methods, ranging from cold turkey through prescription drugs. After collecting all the information, it was clear that vaping was more likely to lead to success than anything else, even the prescription drugs.
It should be evident to anyone paying attention that while not harmless, vaping does represent a way to decrease your daily exposure to harm massively. If we genuinely want to live in a world that is free from smoking, we must start supporting vaping instead of undermining it. Given the government’s track record, it’s up to us to educate enough people about the real risks and benefits of vaping. If we can spread the research, legislators will have no choice but to support vaping.
Do you think that sweet flavors have a significant impact on your enjoyment of vaping? How can we prove to the general public that vaping flavors are useful for adults trying to quit smoking? Do you think it’s crucial that we gain more respect among the general public? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.
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