Dr. Farsalinos carried out this piece of research in conjunction with a team of other medical practitioners through the Internet with reference to previous published studies.
The report begins by giving the background that caused it to be carried out, in that there exists a larger number of flavour options for vapers. It also says that there are many scare stories in the media stating that these flavours will act as a gateway for children to smoking. Anti-vaping groups have also claimed that e cigarette companies are using these flavours on purpose as a marketing tool to appeal to children.
The paper reminds the reader that smoking-related diseases will cause an estimated 1,000,000,000+ deaths this century. It points out that nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) has a poor level of success in aiding people to quit smoking.
It points out that the American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has said there is potential for flavours to attract youngsters. This resulted from research by Lewis and Wackowski that found young people were attracted to the idea of flavoured cigarettes.
This is countered by a study carried out by Dawkins, Turner, Roberts and Soar where they found that about 50% of vapers use non-tobacco flavours.
The Farsalinos study required online consent and removed multiple entries by identifying IP addresses. A problem with this is that it discounted data from homes where more than one person lived and vaped.
Four thousand six hundred and eighteen people completed the survey with four thousand five hundred and fifteen giving their current smoking status. It showed that 91% of those surveyed were former smokers with the remaining smokers had used e cigs as a tool to reduce their smoking down to 4 a day compared to previously smoking an average of 20 a day.
Most of those taking part live in the USA or Europe but some responses were recorded from Asia and Australia. The average vaper taking part was male, University-educated and 40yrs-old. 74% of vapers replying used third generation mods, 25% used Ego-style devices and the rest used cig-a-likes.
Vapers average a use of three different flavours but within that the ex-smokers tended to switch the juice they vaped more often during the day. Current smokers tend to stick to one type of flavour during the day, which would indicate the use of an e cig that resembles a cigarette.
Fruit flavours were the most popular and, on a scale of one to five, electronic cigarette users averaged that flavour ranked as a ‘4’ meaning very important in helping them to quit smoking. Almost half said that reducing flavours would make ecigs boring and over a third said that without the variety of flavours they would either have been less likely to or not have tried ecigs at all.
People expressed a preference for a variety of flavours as a single flavour became dull if used constantly over a period of time. The report also notes that many people expressed a dislike of the smell and taste of tobacco and preferred flavours as their sense of taste and smell returned due to quitting cigarettes.
The report also draws attention to the high use of 3rd generation mods popularity as the higher energy it gives to the coil leads to a greater release of nicotine and more immediate sense of satisfaction. It also notes that the less educated vaper is not fairly represented in the study and that this may impact on the findings.
It concludes that by reducing the range of flavours available is likely to lead to an increase in the craving for a cigarette and that the fact that the range of flavours are currently used and enjoyed is justification enough for them to be used in the future.
It notes that there are a statistically insignificant number of non-smokers taking up vaping (and this includes children). It suggests that, rather than banning flavours, people making laws simply ban access to e cigarettes for children.
Impact of Flavour Variability on Electronic Cigarette Use Experience by Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, Giorgio Romagna, Dimitris Tsiapras, Stamatis Kyrzopoulos, Alketa Spyrou and Vassilis Voudris. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ISSN 1660-4601