Should ‘Kid Friendly’ Vape Flavors Be Banned?
The hot topic of conversation at the moment is whether or not e-cigarettes are a ‘gateway’ drug, turning more and more impressionable young people onto cigarettes. Many consumers and parents are concerned about the number of e-cig flavors being manufactured that could potentially entice young people to try vaping at an early age. These so-called ‘kid friendly’ vape flavors range from the sublime like vanilla and blueberry to the amazing: banana split, cotton candy, gummy bears, and even Skittles. So, should these kinds of flavors be taken off the market?
The argument for banning such flavors is a story of two halves. Firstly, proponents of the ban argue that most kids will be interested in trying a Kool-Aid flavored e-cigarette. These flavors, in their eyes, were clearly designed to appeal to a certain sort of impressionable, youthful audience. The concern is that any vulnerable young person who tries the said Kool-Aid flavored e-cigarette will then get hooked on the habit – moving from Kool-Aid and Sweet Tarts onto more ‘mature’ flavors as they get older. Before you know it, millions of young people around the world will be reaching for a packet of harmful cigarettes and smoking them by the truck load.
It has to be said, e-cigarettes that taste like their favorite desserts may entice some young people – just because they’re understandably ‘more appealing than the smell and taste of burning tobacco’, especially for the uninitiated in the world of smoking like the youngsters people are so worried about. But is this really enough of a justification to remove them from the shelves of vape shops across the country?
A Flawed Argument
Despite the points outlined above, ultimately the argument for banning the tastier flavors is flawed. Mainly because it simply ignores several important factors. Not least the fact that not all kids are interested in cotton candy and Kool-Aid and some adults are very much interested in cotton candy, Kool-Aid and whatever other retro flavors may be thrown their way – and these responsible adults have every right to vape as they please without outside restrictions and regulations. In fact, getting rid of all flavors besides tobacco could see more adults losing interest and returning to traditional cigarettes – the exact thing that these campaigners are trying so hard to avoid.
Nevertheless, the FDA has tried very hard to distance themselves from claims that e-cig flavors help to reduce smoking habits in adults. Back in the spring and summer of 2016, they stated that such claims about flavors were ‘largely anecdotal’. Instead of coming up with concrete evidence to prove their point, the organization has largely channeled its energy into throwing around counter claims that blueberry flavor e-cigarettes will definitely encourage kids across America to take up smoking for the rest of their lives. Until there is hard evidence, however, it is difficult to say that these kinds of flavors should really be banned.
Bad For Business
In addition, banning flavored e-liquids would also be detrimental to the industry as a whole. The vape industry is one of the fastest growing markets, with 2015 seeing revenue of around $3.5 billion, but this income to the US could grind to an almighty halt if ‘kid friendly’ flavors are banned nationwide. Many sellers supply tons of flavored vape e-liquids, and would take a hit – excuse the pun – if these flavors were taken off their shelves. It could even put many out of business.
Not only this, but the claim that vaping is a gateway to smoking has been refuted time and time again, and is an easy argument to re-buff. This article from The Conversation is one of the best examples of this. Lynn T. Kozlowski – a Professor from the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University of Buffalo and the State University of New York – highlights how two prominent studies in the field which suggest vaping is a ‘gateway’ to smoking are pretty flawed in their methodology and results.
Where do you stand on e-cigarette flavoring? Are you a fan of a cotton candy e-liquid, or would you rather stick to your tobacco blends? Let us know in the comments, and on our social media pages!
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