New research suggests that flavored vaping products are much less harmful to young people than combustible cigarettes. They also have the potential to help current teen cigarette smokers quit.
A new study from researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) reported the views and experiences of more than 500,000 youth under the age of 18. Lead researcher, Caitlin Notley, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said the study was conducted because there was a lot of concern that young people may start vaping because they are attracted to e-liquid flavors, and that it could potentially lead them to start smoking tobacco.
“We wanted to find out more about the links between vape flavors, the uptake of vaping among young people, and whether it leads to regular vaping and, potentially, tobacco smoking,” she said in a statement, adding that he research team studied all available evidence (58 studies) on the youth use of e-liquid flavors. “We found that flavored e-liquids are an important aspect of vaping that young people enjoy. This suggests that flavored products may encourage young people to switch away from harmful tobacco smoking towards less harmful vaping.”
Flavored vaping products also did not cause vapers to move on to combustible products, according to the study. may be an important motivator for e-cigarette uptake – but we found no evidence that using flavored e-liquids attracted young people to go on to take up tobacco smoking. “And we also found no adverse effects or harm caused by using liquid vape flavors,” Notley said. “However, there is also a need to monitor flavor use to ensure that young people who have never smoked are not attracted to taking up vaping.”
The team found that the overall quality of the evidence on use of e-cigarette flavors by young people was low. In particular, many studies did not clearly define e-liquid flavors and could not therefore be included within the review. The study was led by UEA in collaboration with researchers at University College London, the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.
‘Youth Use of E-Liquid Flavours – A systematic review exploring patterns of use of e liquid flavours and associations with continued vaping, tobacco smoking uptake, or cessation’ was published in the journal Addiction on Nov. 17, 2021.