• June 19, 2024

Expand Flavor Ban to Reduce Youth Vaping

 Expand Flavor Ban to Reduce Youth Vaping
Photo: Atlas

Youth vaping would decline significantly if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded its flavor ban to disposable e-cigarettes, according to a new study from the Center for Tobacco Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. The FDA’s current flavor ban only applies to cartridge electronic cigarette devices.

Researchers surveyed 1,414 individuals between the ages of 14 and 17 regarding their e-cigarette use and behaviors. This included demographic and self-reported information about the type of device used, usage habits, preferred flavors and intent to discontinue use of the vaping device in response to proposed hypothetical comprehensive flavor ban.

Overall, nearly 39 percent of survey respondents reported they would stop using their e-cigarettes if tobacco and menthol-flavored e-liquids were the only options available, and nearly 71 percent would quit vaping under a tobacco-only product standard.

“Our data add to an expanding body of evidence showing that youth have a preference for sweet flavorings that make vaping easier for novice users of e-cigarette products, priming them for a potential lifetime of dependency to nicotine,” said senior author Alayna Tackett in a statement.

In February 2020, the FDA restricted the use of flavorings in cartridge/pod vape devices, but the ban did not extend to disposable devices or to menthol flavoring for all devices. While sales of e-cigarette cartridge products went down, sales of disposable devices and menthol-flavored pod/cartridge devices went up.  

In April 2022, the FDA issued proposed product standards banning menthol flavoring in cigarettes and cigars.

While stressing the importance of preventing vaping among young people, Tackett says that flavor restrictions could also impact adults who use e-cigarettes as a tool to quite smoking.

“Many adults prefer using non-tobacco flavors to switch from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes,” said Tackett. “Flavor restriction policies should consider the best ways to protect public health while supporting adults who are interested in choosing potentially less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes.”