Considering that vaping has the potential to bring massive public health benefits, as a tool that is 95% less harmful than smoking, the role of flavours in vaping cannot be neglected.
But what do policymakers think? Only in the EU, we saw multiple attempts to ban or regulate vaping flavours.
For instance, the Netherlands recently reopened a consultation on flavour bans. Even though last year, the same consultation saw the largest ever pool of responses in the history of our public health consultations in the Netherlands, with 98% of respondents opposing the ban.
Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, and some others have already forbidden flavours. Spain and Ireland are currently in policy discussions about such regressive prohibitions as well.
And even though there has been a glimpse of hope with the Swedish government finally rejecting the flavour ban — it is not enough. We need to see more pro-vaping decisions worldwide.
A huge contradictory gap between consumers’ interests and policymakers’ actions remains noticeable. This contradiction can only be solved by pushing accurate data and encouraging policymakers to listen to the voices of real consumers.
To showcase what vapers think, the World Vapers’ Alliance conducted a survey in which we also gathered information about vape flavours.
Overall, the survey received 415 responses, with 96.8% being current vapers and 80% being former smokers, meaning most respondents use vaping as a smoking cessation method.
Adult vapers enjoy flavours and stick mainly to vaping because of the opportunity to try different tastes. To the question of which vaping flavours they prefer, 97% of surveyed responded that they prefer their own choice of non-tobacco vaping flavours or a combination of flavours and tobacco taste. Only 3.4% say they prefer tobacco-flavour only.
What policymakers often misunderstand is that vape prohibitions have counterproductive implications. They often push vapers back to smoking or emerge from the illicit trade. The survey showed that if flavours were banned: more than half of vapers would seek to get their flavours on the black market, or return to smoking. 21% say they would exclusively vape tobacco flavour, and 16% think they would quit vaping at all.
Policies should adjust to the interests of consumers and, in this case, to the interests of those smokers who want to quit smoking through vaping. And considering all mentioned above – flavours should be endorsed rather than fought.
World Vapers’ Alliance launched a campaign to support vape flavours as their prohibition would jeopardise millions of lives and have massive negative implications on public health. Additionally, we urge all vapers to submit to the consultation in the Netherlands, which is running till September 28th.
We urge policymakers to listen to the voices of consumers and contribute to saving 200 million lives globally. Voices of vapers matter, and they must not be ignored any longer!