Why Vape Flavors Matter
Vaping devices offer adult smokers the opportunity to consume nicotine using a liquid heated by a vaporizer, paired with various flavors to offer a better taste to users. Because of the growth in popularity of these vaping devices and the flavors that are inherent to their use, in this paper, we focus on why these flavors are essential to giving reasonable and less harmful alternatives to smokers looking to quit. We evaluate and demonstrate the efficacy of flavors for smoking cessation, and forecast the negative externalities that will arise should jurisdictions implement vaping flavor bans.
Given the importance of flavor availability, we estimate that flavor bans will ultimately drive consumers to other legal jurisdictions, push them towards the black market, or back to traditional cigarettes. Given that forecast, we urge legislators against the implementation of vaping flavor bans.
A Return To Smoking:
Estimated number of new smokers if flavor bans include Mint and Menthol
A Return to Smoking:
Upon further review, it is clear that flavored vaping products are instrumental in aiding adult smokers in their quest to quit smoking cigarettes. It is our opinion that legislation on vaping flavors must take this fact into account, and we urge legislators against the widespread implementation of such bans. As has been demonstrated, we know that flavor bans reignite the problems of prohibition, which is a net negative for society, both in terms of criminal activity and consumer safety. We also know that banning flavors runs the very serious risk of nudging vapers back to smoking cigarettes.
While youth access to vaping products is a serious problem, and one that needs to be addressed, it would be misguided to ban vaping flavors to attempt to accomplish the goal of eliminating youth use. Banning flavors would disproportionately harm smokers who are trying to quit, which runs against the goals of public health agencies. Rather than enact heavy-handed bans, and recreate prohibition, it would be best if legislators focused more narrowly on youth access at the point of sale. For example, legislators could enact rules that more strictly prohibit youth access, penalizing those who violate these laws with stricter penalties. It would be reasonable for health authorities to revoke business licenses for businesses caught selling to minors on repeated occasions. Once penalties are set, and business owners have their livelihood at stake, it is unlikely that those store owners will run the risk of selling to minors.