A new review has concluded that restrictions on vaping flavours would “risk seriously reducing the life-saving potential of vape devices”.
The research has been written by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, a physician and a research associate at the University of Patras and the University of West Attica in Greece. The review, titled, “The case for flavours in tobacco harm reduction to save lives”, discusses the science, consumer insights, relative risks and regulatory considerations relating to flavoured vapes.
In the review, Dr Farsalinos talks about the ever-changing regulations surrounding e-cigarettes. “Right now, we are at a turning point, with many governments in the process of examining, or re-examining the role of reduced risk nicotine-based products, and the use of flavours in these categories,” he said.
He added, “Well-regulated use of flavours can and should be considered as a valuable tool to help prevent disease and save the lives of adult smokers who cannot or will not quit by themselves or with other approved methods.”
The review examined over 340 published articles examining e-liquid flavours, with the purpose of it being to contribute towards a “whole of society” solution to combustible tobacco-related disease and premature death.
Following his review of the studies, Dr Farsalinos concluded that flavours used in e-cigarettes are “inextricably linked to smoking cessation”. He also added that bans on vape devices and flavours will harm, not help individual and population health, and that health professionals play an important role to provide accurate and evidence-based risk communication to patients.
“Tobacco control provided the insight that health professionals and in particular, medical doctors have tremendous influence in consumer choices,” he said, adding, “they can play a highly influential role in curbing tobacco use in any community.”
The review also considered the issue of youth uptake, a subject that has been making headlines recently since the disposable vape trend took off. Dr Farsalinos stated that whilst youth access is a serious problem that needs addressing, it would be misguided to ban vaping flavours.
“Banning flavours would disproportionately harm adult smokers who are trying to quit, which is contrary to their fundamental human rights and right to access all beneficial healthcare options.”
Moving forward, Dr Farsalinos recommended that more focus should be placed on bans at the points of sale when it comes to reducing the risk of youth uptake. He also addressed the issue of misinformation, stating, “Misinformation about non-combustible, nicotine-based alternatives to combustible tobacco, should be stamped out. Risk perception studies in several parts of the world show that consumers believe e-cigarettes are as harmful as cigarettes. This needs to be rectified.”
It’s hoped that further research like Dr Farsalinos review will secure the future of flavoured vape products, helping more people quit smoking and preventing the reuptake of cigarette use.