This letter originally appeared in the Daily Herald on January 5, 2015.
We agree with the Herald that the use of all nicotine products should be discouraged by youth. Nonetheless, your recent editorial’s assertion that vapor products are marketed in flavors to appeal to youth is just plain wrong.
Last November, a survey of over 4,500 adult users (“vapers”) was published in an environmental health scientific journal. The survey found that the flavors most commonly used by these adults were fruit and sweet varieties. The survey also found that vapers who used nontobacco flavors were more likely to be smoke-free. Most importantly, the ex-smoker vapers rated flavor variably as “very important” to staying stay smoke-free. Clearly, adult smokers and ex-smokers like flavors.
The Herald also errs by advocating for vapor product policy that is not evidence based. Amazingly, in pushing for bans on vaping wherever smoking is banned, the Herald admits that its intent is to make adults and youth believe using a smoke-free product is no better than inhaling burning smoke from a lit cigarette. In other words, the Herald wants governments to work to actively mislead its citizens.
Despite great strides in reducing smoking, there are still over 40 million American adult smokers. In any given year, fewer than 5 percent will actually quit successfully. Vapor products, whether in tobacco or a fruit flavor, are showing themselves to be an excellent alternatives for adult smokers.
Let’s not target this technology unnecessarily when it’s already proving successful in helping adult smokers quit.
American Vaping Association