Flavoured e-liquids – you either love them or hate them. But a new study shows they may be necessary for smoking cessation with e-cigarettes.


The findings show that 76.4 percent of participants successfully quit smoking by vaping a flavour they liked, while 25 percent became dual users.

“Of the 20,836 adult frequent vapers, nearly 16,000 had completely switched,” from smoking to vaping, while 5,000 were “dual users” who were smoking and using e-cigarettes.

The recently released peer-reviewed research from the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR) was funded by Fontem Ventures and was published in the Harm Reduction Journal.

The study concludes that flavours play a critical role in attracting – and retaining – smokers in vaping, directly contributing to tobacco harm reduction.

It also suggests that restricting access to flavours may discourage smokers from even trying vaping, as flavours may make the habit more appealing to quit.

“Restricting access to non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors may discourage smokers from attempting to switch to e-cigarettes.”

One of the largest studies of its kind to focus solely on flavours, the CSUR study assessed the first flavour and current e-liquid products used by over 20,000 adult frequent vapers in the US. The majority of frequent vapers who had completely switched from smoking cigarettes to using vaping, were shown to have increasingly likely initiated vaping with non-tobacco flavours, and to have transitioned from tobacco to non-tobacco flavours over time.

The research also shows the popularity of certain types of e-liquids in the US market. Over 82 percent of the 20,000 people surveyed prefer fruit/fruit beverage juice, 68.5 percent prefer dessert/pastry flavours while  tobacco and menthol flavours ranked as the fifth and sixth most popular currently used flavours.

Fruit flavours have grown in immense popularity too, from 17.8 percent of first purchases made before 2011, to 33.5 percent of first purchases made between June 2015 and June 2016.

While some markets are taking a stance against flavours which could be deemed ‘child-friendly’ or resemble confectionary items, controversy remains over inciting non-smokers to vape and helping smokers stub out the habit. Understanding the role that flavours play in the American population’s use of e-cigarettes, and the impact that flavoured e-cigarette products have on the US population’s use of more harmful tobacco products, like conventional cigarettes, has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a public health research priority.

The aim of this study was to assess the first e-cigarette flavor and current e-cigarette flavors used by a large group of regular vapers to see how flavour preferences vary by cigarette smoking status and time since first e-cigarette purchase.