Relapse prevention: a matter of taste?

Time: 14:20 - 14:30

Date: Friday 4th December

There is growing and widespread concern about youth use of e-liquid flavours. Findings from a review of recent research evidence confirms that young people prefer fruit and sweet flavoured e-liquids. People like vaping liquids that taste and smell good. Do flavours, therefore, tempt young people to start using nicotine, on a pathway from vaping towards tobacco smoking dependence? Or  do flavoured e liquids divert young people away from harmful tobacco smoking, and support smoking quit attempts? For adult smokers, particularly perhaps those who are vulnerable and find it most difficult to quit, might enjoying using e-liquid flavours actually promote not only cessation, but sustained tobacco smoking abstinence? The evidence will be considered within a context where societal discourses of ‘protecting innocent children’ prevail, alongside deficit based moral discourses positioning nicotine addiction as ‘bad’.  Furthermore, international regulations categorising e-cigarettes as tobacco products cause considerable confusion, through implication by association that potential e-cigarette harms are on a par with the known serious harms of tobacco smoking. There is serious, consequential, misinterpretation of observational evidence. Might it be time to consider flavouring, as one aspect of the sensory pleasure of e-cigarette use, as a positive means to supporting long term smoking abstinence?

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