In September of last year, the debate was raised in the United States to ban the sale of ‘flavoured’ vaping products. This announcement has vape users up in arms the world over, as the effects of this have even trickled their way to little New Zealand. But why has the sale of flavoured vape products been raised as an issue in the first place? What reasons are there behind the ban, and why is it opposed by so many? We’ve compiled this article to give you some insights into both sides of the argument.
What Constitutes a Flavoured E Cigarette?
What does the US even determine vape ‘flavours’ as? When vapes started to become popular around 2014, a list was compiled of ‘kid-friendly flavours’, which was made up of sweet flavours with appealing names, and even brand associations with children’s food and beverage products. These were obviously not appropriate for an adult product, and were campaigned against right from the get-go.
The complication arises because that there are some pleasantly flavoured vapes that are appealing to adults. We’ve all seen fruit flavoured E Liquids around, and then there are mint and menthol flavours, one of the best is coffee e juice, in our opinion. The point is, all of these are said to come under the category of ‘flavoured’ vapes, at least in the States.
What Reasons Are There for Banning These?
The short answer to this question is that America is worried about a youth vaping crisis. Initial data of high school students in the states showed a 7% rise in E-Cigarette usage in 2019. This, alongside the recent health concerns brought about by some black market vape products (a whole other issue for a whole other article), has boosted concerns of child safety significantly. The FDA has decided that the way to combat these issues is to ban flavoured products, in an effort to take the appeal away from youth.
It’s worth pointing out that the current regulations being put forward by the FDA specifically ban closed pods, like Vype and Juul. These products are particularly popular with younger kids, due to their ease of use. This means that re-fillable systems may still be legal for some retailers to carry, but the fact remains that many adults who are trying to transition away from smoking tobacco don’t want to invest in a re-fillable pod or mod device straight away.
The Long List of Oversights
On the one hand, it is important that vaping products are not marketed as kid-friendly products, but there have been massive oversights in the American government’s approach to this. First of all, flavoured vape products are an important part of what makes adult smokers convert to vaping. The pleasant taste of vaping is increasingly becoming an appealing point of difference that allows smokers to make the switch. Banning all vape flavours can cause a decrease in smokers switching to the much healthier alternative of vaping due to this oversight.
Another oversight is that there are more causes for these youth vape statistics than just the flavours. Though they may be a factor in why young people take up vaping, other factors include the availability, and social acceptability of the product among a younger audience. Furthermore, flavour descriptors have been proven to hold hardly any interest with teenagers who don’t already vape. This makes us really question why teenage vaping has been stated as justification to ban all vape flavours.
A More Sensible Alternative
Youth vaping is a justified issue, and definitely something to be concerned about. But surely there are other, more sensible ways to prevent a youth vaping crisis than banning all these products. There are easier ways of responding to concerns in the form of restrictions to access and marketing. Making access to online vape stores and retail environments much stricter seems to be the first place to start.
Then comes the control of marketing of vape products. While vape advertising is highly restricted already, there is room to control the themes of advertising, placements and timing more heavily. This, alongside branding, can be an effective way to control how vaping is marketed, and pull the appeal away from youth.
New Zealand’s Stance
While all of this is primarily going on in the United States, it has become apparent that change needs to be made in New Zealand as well, as a result. As it stands now, the NZ government is looking at banning all vape flavours but three – tobacco, menthol and mint. These changes would allow adult vape users some choice and the ability to create a pleasant experience for their quit smoking use, but a lot of research still needs to be done here in order to come up with a solution that suits everyone.
Want to know more?
Keep up to date with the latest in vape news right here, with NZVAPOR. If you’re interested in vaping as an alternative to smoking, why not check out our E cigarette starter kit? To find out more, reach out to us today!