A new study has revealed that flavored e-cigarettes are likely to help adults quit smoking, but are even more likely to get teenagers to start.
The analysis, conducted by JAMA Network Open, showed that adults who switch from traditional tobacco cigarettes to vaping non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes were 34% more likely to quit the habit than those who didn’t make the switch.
But teenagers who vaped non-tobacco-flavored products were seven times more likely to pick up smoking than adolescents who don’t vape, researchers report.
“Adult smokers who took up vaping non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those who took up tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes,” explained Abigail S. Friedman, a Yale School of Public Health professor and co-author of the study. “The same was not true for youth smoking initiation.”
Still, the trend for adults depended on the flavor of the e-cigarettes they used. Vape pods are available in a variety of flavors, like mint, fruit, and bubblegum. Only adults who switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping in a flavor that didn’t remind them of tobacco were likely to quit their smoking habits altogether.
There has been much controversy in the last few years around the role that marketing plays in hooking young people to addictive nicotine delivery systems like e-cigarettes. As with a bevy of lawsuits in the 1990s, when tobacco companies were accused of trying to attract young costumers with fun cigarette flavors and memorable marketing mascots, Big Vape has been accused of luring children to their addictive products with flavors like Cotton Candy and Sour Apple.
Even for adults, switching from cigarettes to vaping might not be the most effective way to kick a nicotine addiction. A second study published Friday in the same publication found that users of e-cigarettes are 63% more likely to return to smoking than those who choose other smoking cessation aids like nicotine patches or Nicorette gum.