Looking at today’s e-liquid landscape, one fact becomes immediately obvious: Tobacco e-liquids aren’t very popular anymore. Custards, cereals and fruit slushies are all the rage, while classic flavors like RY4, 555, Flue Cured and Virginia have fallen by the wayside. Sweeteners might lead to coil gunk, but the vaping community as a whole doesn’t care. We love our flavored e-liquids, and we want more — so that’s what the e-liquid makers are giving us.
So, what’s the matter with sweet e-liquids? If you ask some people, there’s quite a lot wrong with them.
Do Flavored E-Liquids Attract the Wrong Crowd?
If you ask activist groups like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, they’ll tell you that flavored e-liquids attract children to e-cigarettes. We have the tobacco industry to thank for this skepticism; cigarette manufacturers have a long history of trying to hook the young. Characters like Joe Camel and products such as flavored cigarettes in tins drew so much criticism that they were eventually discontinued. Leaked documents from the 1970s essentially proved that at least one tobacco company intentionally marketed to children who were under the legal smoking age. If you started smoking during the ’70s, it’s possible that you were among the children enticed by those ads. If you have since switched to e-cigarettes, you deserve praise for freeing yourself from tobacco after so many years.
Wait — Don’t Adults Like Sweet Flavors Too?
That’s the problem. The e-liquid industry is a grassroots industry full of companies founded by people who are a lot like you — former smokers who now vape. Those people would like to earn money by contributing to an industry that changed their lives, and their goal is to help existing smokers get off of tobacco — not to market to children. The tobacco industry has lied to the public for so long that’s hard for outsiders to see the difference.
Do you love flavored e-liquids? You’re not alone. A 2013 survey of 4,618 e-cigarette users examined the effect that flavors have on the vaping experience. Among the respondents, more than 91 percent no longer used tobacco. Most of the respondents preferred fruity e-liquids, and nearly half said that they would crave cigarettes if they didn’t have access to flavored e-liquids. Many said that the variety of flavors was essential in deriving enjoyment from the vaping experience.
Will We Ever Lose Our Flavored E-Liquids?
Burned by one too many lies from the tobacco industry, there are some lobbyists who won’t stop until the government bans flavored e-liquids — exactly as has happened with tobacco cigarettes. It seems unlikely, though, that we will lose our flavored e-liquids any time soon. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration announced sweeping changes to the way in which it intends to handle tobacco control. Although the FDA has not yet announced changes to its 2016 e-cigarette regulations — which would force most e-cigarette and e-liquid companies to close due to high compliance burdens — it has postponed the deadline for compliance to 2022.
The FDA’s statement regarding the postponement essentially admits that vaping appears to be a less risky alternative to smoking. The FDA would like to reduce the nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels and keep lower-risk alternatives such as e-cigarettes on the market for those who still need or want nicotine. For the millions of us whose lives have been changed by vaping, the news is extremely positive because it may mean that the e-cigarette industry will remain healthy for a long time to come.
How Important Are Flavored E-Liquids to You?
We’d love to read your comments below. How much do flavored e-liquids contribute to your vaping experience? What are your favorite flavors right now? Would you have been able to switch from smoking to vaping if tobacco and menthol were the only flavors available?