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Are flavored e-cigarette bans effective?

Are flavored e-cigarette bans effective?

In a recent study posted to the medRxiv* preprint server, researchers explore the consequences of flavored e-cigarette bans on the usage of e-cigarettes.

Study: The impact of flavored e-cigarette bans on e-cigarette use in three US states. Image Credit: Oleg GawriloFF / Shutterstock.com

*Essential notice: medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that should not peer-reviewed and, due to this fact, mustn’t be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Growing concerns about e-cigarettes

America Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and policymakers are highly occupied with the impact of e-cigarette flavors and their restrictions on the usage, initiation, and cessation of smoked tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Flavored e-cigarettes have the potential to scale back health risks by attracting smokers to as a substitute use e-cigarettes or by encouraging youth to make use of e-cigarettes as a substitute of traditional smoking, assuming that e-cigarettes are a safer alternative.

The surge in e-cigarette usage, especially amongst young people, combined with the sudden outbreak of lung injuries linked to vaping in 2019, led the FDA and various state and native authorities to ban or contemplate prohibiting all or some e-cigarettes, including those with added flavors aside from tobacco.

Concerning the study

The present study utilized Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), an internet crowdsourcing platform commonly utilized in tobacco research, to gather data in a cheap and efficient manner. The study inclusion criteria required participants to be 18 years or older, a gift resident of the state for the past six months, a daily user of e-cigarettes for at least six months prior to the survey, and previously received an approval rating of 90% and over from previous MTurk tasks.

The researchers collected information from participants about their e-cigarette usage within the 30 days following the state flavor ban and the month prior to the ban. Respondents were asked to report their every day use of e-cigarettes before the ban, in addition to the frequency of e-cigarette use, categorized as every day, weekly, lower than weekly, or by no means, after the ban. Moreover, data on e-cigarette usage was collected, including flavor preferences and acquisition methods, from participants each before and after the implementation of a ban.

Demographic data, including age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational qualification, and household income, together with other variables that would have influenced respondents’ reactions to the ban, were also collected. These variables included the duration of normal e-cigarette use, desire to quit prior to the ban, and reasons for using e-cigarettes. The survey included questions on respondents’ awareness and support of the ban and their perception of local retailers’ compliance with the ban.

Study findings

A complete of 1,624 respondents participated within the study, most of whom were young adult males between 25 and 34 years of age. Most respondents were White and had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

A major variety of participants had been using e-cigarettes for a period starting from two to 5 years. Moreover, almost 80% expressed a robust desire to quit.

In line with the survey, 54.4% of respondents reported using e-cigarettes as a consequence of the supply of assorted flavors, while 36.6% used them in an effort to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. Nonetheless, many of the participants smoked cigarettes frequently, either every day or weekly.

Moreover, many of the respondents were already aware of the ban prior to the survey. While many felt neutral concerning the ban, more participants supported the ban than opposed it.

The flavour bans resulted in 8.3% of users quitting e-cigarettes. The usage of menthol and other banned flavors decreased, while the usage of non-flavored e-cigarettes rose from 5.4% to 25.4%. Using non-banned, tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes reduced from 20.1% to fifteen.6%.

Paired t-tests showed that every one changes in flavor use from pre- to post-ban were statistically significant. Those that utilized e-cigarettes on a weekly basis were more more likely to quit e-cigarette usage and reduce their usage of menthol and non-tobacco and menthol (TM) flavors as in comparison with those that used e-cigarettes every day.

Before the ban, the share of e-cigarette users who primarily used tobacco flavor was highest amongst every day smokers. This percentage decreased with the intensity of smoking, while former smokers and never-smokers exhibited the bottom likelihood of primarily using tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.

Smokers had the next preference for menthol flavor as in comparison with former and never smokers. Non-TM flavors showed a reverse pattern by way of percentage, with the bottom percentage amongst every day smokers and the very best percentage amongst never-smokers. The proportion increased progressively amongst those that smoked weekly or less and former smokers.


The study findings suggested that non-flavored e-cigarettes could be a viable substitute for each tobacco and non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Moreover, state bans on e-cigarette flavors are unlikely to cause a big proportion of adult e-cigarette users to extend or switch to smoking. Enforcing an entire flavor ban and ensuring retailer compliance is crucial for regulating the usage of e-cigarettes.

*Essential notice: medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that should not peer-reviewed and, due to this fact, mustn’t be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.


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