Issued at the Global Forum on Nicotine on 14 June 2019


Removing e-liquid flavours from sale threatens the proven success of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers switch, warns the New Nicotine Alliance

  • The array of e-cigarette flavours has been instrumental in their success as a smoking cessation method

  • Demonising flavours in some jurisdictions is a threat to global public health

  • Experts agree that flavours are key to tempting smokers to try safer products

WARSAW, June 14th, 2019: Banning flavours in e-cigarettes could be detrimental to public health, warns leading consumer charity, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA).

The role of flavours for e-cigarettes and whether they are a positive or negative for public health has been the focus of much discussion in public health, scientific and media circles around the world. The NNA argues that removing all flavours except tobacco would be a disastrous move.

The NNA and other leading experts at the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw – an event featuring over 500 delegates from academic, research, industry and consumer organisations - said today that removing flavours from sale would be a deterrent to the increasing number of smokers who are quitting by choosing to use less harmful products.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking. The UK boasts 1.7 million former smokers who have converted from smoking to exclusively vaping instead. Flavours have been a big driver of that success, by distancing smokers from tobacco and providing an incentive to switch, with a wide selection of different options to suit their preferences”, says NNA Chair Martin Cullip, who to+day hosted a briefing at the GFN on the subject.

Sharon Cox, Research Fellow at London South Bank University, said:
“Policy needs to reflect real user behaviour, be context specific, make best use of evidence, and involve consumers to serve the public to make informed choices. The evidence suggests flavours are one of a few key components, important to both the new vaper and the experienced vaper, which help people abstain from smoking.”

James Dunworth, blogger on e-cigarettes and owner of Welsh retailer E-Cigarette Direct, said:
“Vaping works because it's fun. Take the pleasure out of vaping and it will stop working. Key to that pleasure is flavour. Because of demand, there are a huge number of flavours, meaning there's something for everyone - and when someone finds their perfect flavour, they’re highly unlikely to go back to smoking.”

Dr Christopher Russell, of the Centre for Substance Use Research, said:
“There is growing evidence that suggests adult smokers increasingly prefer to use vapour products that are not flavoured like tobacco. Evidence from our own research suggests that a significantly higher proportion of smokers who prefer to vape non-tobacco flavours go on to completely quit smoking cigarettes within three months. Restricting adult smokers’ access to flavoured vaping products would therefore very likely result in fewer smokers trying vaping as an alternative to continuing to smoke, in substantially fewer smokers attempting to switch to vaping, and ultimately, in substantially fewer smokers succeeding in their attempt to switch to vaping.”

Nancy Sutthoff, a consumer advocate, agreed:
"The availability of choice is what makes using safer nicotine products so effective - especially when it comes to flavours. Most people who switch go through a learning curve, and a range of flavours that the individual enjoys make the process simpler and more enjoyable. Personally, I know that being able to vape a flavour that I enjoyed helped me immensely in leaving behind my tobacco habit.”


Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA)

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” risk-reduced nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.

Research forthcoming from CSUR (CSUR press pack available in GFN media bags).