Are Teens Drawn to Flavoured E-Liquids?
The wide variety of flavours that are on offer grows by the day. It is one of the reasons that smokers prefer vaping to smoking that isn’t health related. Strawberry cheesecake does taste a lot better than tobacco after all. But is the rise in flavours on offer to consumers starting to convince young teenagers to begin vaping? The newspapers may be scaremongering you with headlines that say this is the case, but the truth is as always slightly more nuanced than that.
Better Than the Alternative
The first thing to realise about teens who vape is that the vast majority of teens who vape were already smokers. The percentage of e cig users amongst teenagers who had never smoked a cigarette before is just 0.7%. This shows that statistically the number of teenagers who are taking up vaping isn’t much higher than the number of teenagers who were smoking anyway. It’s also important to add that the number of teenagers who are smoking is lower than ever too. All of this comes from a variety of reports that can be found here. It is important to recognise that the 0.7% are teenagers who had never smoked before, this doesn’t mean that they weren’t planning on starting. While it wasn’t asked if they were tempted by cigarettes but chose vaping instead it cannot be discounted as a possibility either.
These figures also don’t take into account that just a third of teenage vapers use nicotine in their e-liquid. So the majority of teenage vapers are steering clear of nicotine altogether. This ensures that in the long term the damage that nicotine can do to the developing brains of teenagers is limited more than ever before. The increase in vaping has to take some of the credit for that, despite whatever reservations people may have.
This means that teenagers who never would have smoked aren’t being drawn to vaping, the majority of teenagers who are being drawn to vaping are teenagers who already smoked. So what is it that draws the teenagers towards vaping instead of smoking? And is it such a bad thing?
The stats also show that the smoking rate is at an all time low for teenagers. This means that the rise of vaping has lowered the number of teenagers who actively start smoking as well as helping a large number to quit smoking. A lot of this is down to the wide availability of studies that show vaping is not as dangerous as smoking. It is also in part due to the number of better smelling and tasting e-liquids that are currently on the market.
So while it has been argued that the increase in flavoured e-liquids is drawing teenagers towards vaping the facts offer a different story. The number of teenagers that partake in vaping is on the rise, but this is instead of smoking. Teenagers who vape either smoked already or were likely to start smoking. This shows that vaping is not drawing in teenagers who had no intention of smoking. It also means that teenagers are choosing a safer option instead of smoking. That only a third of teenage vapers use nicotine e-liquid also means that the addictive nature of vaping is severely reduced as well.
This all points towards vaping not just being an excellent aid to quitting smoking but it is also helping teenagers to avoid smoking in the first place. While it is best to keep your underage teenagers away from smoking and vaping if at all possible, the stats all point towards more and more teenagers choosing the less harmful option.
Although these stats do show that there isn’t a teenage vaping epidemic and flavoured e-liquids certainly aren’t drawing in hordes of teenagers, it is still best to attempt to keep your teenagers away from vaping. Teenagers bodies aren’t designed to handle nicotine in the same way adult bodies are. This can cause a large amount of damage to their developing bodies and brains. Keeping your teenager away from vaping is the best option for both your bank account and your teenager’s long term health.
Benefits of Flavoured E-Liquids
It’s very easy to talk about potential drawbacks of flavoured e-liquids, which a lot of mainstream news outlets tend to do. Unfortunately they do this without a full grasp on the facts. As we have established that flavoured e-liquids don’t draw teenagers into vaping it’s only important to talk about the benefits that flavoured e-liquids can offer.
The two most intrinsically linked aspects of flavoured e-liquids is the taste and smell. One of the biggest drawbacks to tobacco that isn’t health related is that the unpleasant smell lingers and it doesn’t taste particularly nice. Flavoured e-liquids remove these issues because you can choose the flavour that appeals to you the most. So if you want a raspberry ripple, bubblegum or strawberry cheesecake flavoured e-liquid you can enjoy that taste when you’re vaping.
In addition to this the vapour that vapes give off doesn’t leave a lingering smell like tobacco does. So while the initial vapour does smell just like the flavour it disperses quickly and doesn’t leave a lasting smell on your clothes. This ensures that people don’t have to go around with the unpleasant stale smoke smell on them all day and also don’t have to worry about their vapour leaving a smell on them, albeit a more pleasant smell.
The statistics back up that teenagers are not drawn towards flavoured e-liquids any more than they would be in general. It’s a false statement to say that flavoured e-liquids are causing an epidemic of young people vaping. The problem is that a lot of tobacco companies try to lobby to slow down the growth of vaping as it presents a problem to their business model. The false statements based around teenagers and flavoured e-liquids is an appeal based on gaining emotional reactions from people. When this occurs it can be difficult to ascertain the facts of the situation, but it is important to remember that all current studies point to it being false.