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New Research Finds Vape Flavour Restrictions Caused An Increase in US Cigarette Sales

By Grace Lynk 4th January 2024 3 Mins


Flavour restrictions in the US have inevitably resulted in an increase in cigarette sales, a bittersweet moment for harm reduction advocates who have been warning policymakers for years.

What a surprise! It turns out, in a shocking turn of events, that restricting vape flavours was the genius move we all needed to abandon cessation tools backed by science.

Who could’ve possibly guessed that adult consumers, when deprived of their favourite vape flavours, would revert to the time-tested allure of tobacco-filled cigarettes?

Let’s see… only every vaping and harm reduction advocate ever, all of whom have been incessantly warning policymakers for years about the potential backlash of such a drastic and unfair change.

Despite these forewarnings, it is only in hindsight that the vaping community are finally being taken seriously, with new research funded by the FDA and National Institutes of Health showcasing the results we all anticipated.

The study’s authors have released the shocking, but foreseeable, statistic that for every 0.7ml vape pod not sold due to flavour restrictions, 15 cigarettes take its place.

Several US states, and close to 400 local governments, have already passed laws restricting non-tobacco and menthol vape flavours, a feat which has been the long-term objective of tobacco control organisations and their biggest funder, Bloomberg.

In light of this, a working paper by multiple researchers, has unveiled conclusions which prove that such policies encourage vapers of all ages to replace e-cigarettes with traditional tobacco.

Numerous key findings were named, some of which have been summarised by the researchers below.

  • Vape sales decline and cigarette sales increase when a greater percentage of state residents is subject to flavour-restrictive policies.
  • The relationship between vape flavour restrictions and increased cigarette sales is consistent across cigarette product age profiles, including for brands disproportionately used by underage youth.
  • And finally, both outright flavour bans and laws restricting flavoured vapes to certain retail stores reduce vape sales and increase cigarette sales once they’ve been in effect for a year or more.

In a world where decisions are designated by a select few uninformed individuals, it has now become evident that strict regulations on vape flavours will only funnel people back into the arms of Big Tobacco.

The authors write:

“Policies making ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) more expensive, less accessible, or less appealing appear to incentivise substitution towards cigarettes.”

The FDA also recently announced a proposed rule to extend the public comment period for the “Requirements for Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice” by 30 days.

Industry experts believe that the prolonged review should result in policies balancing tobacco control and e-cigarette industry growth, protecting young people while not limiting access for adults.

The final results, however, are expected to impose higher standards on e-cigarette companies to ensure both product quality and safety for consumers, helping to standardise the vape market.

Jim McDonald, member of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives, said:

“Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves.”

So, here’s to vape flavour restrictions, the highly anticipated boon for cigarette companies, because who needs to make progress when the nostalgic smell of a smoke-filled room is just as accessible?

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Grace Lynk