Doctor’s FDA Survey: Ex Smokers For Fruity E-Liquids

Ex Smokers For Fruity E-Liquids

Too many doubts and misinformation about vaping is circulated in both the real and digital world. Majority of the people who don’t know what vaping is, think it is a modern form of smoking that is even more injurious to tobacco smoking. The truth, although is anything but this. Vaping and smoking are worlds part. They are two different global markets. Thinking vaping is synonymous to smoking is like saying a milkshake and juice is same. Of course they are not.

To get rid of your basic concern, ‘Is vaping better than smoking’, let me say it in clear-cut words that vaping is thousand times better than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

What is Vaping

Typically, vaping is defined as the act of inhaling vapor that is produced by an electronic cigarette or a vaporizer. The inhaled vapor can be produced from several types of materials like e-liquid, dry herb, or concentrate. In today’s world, it is one the fastest growing industries. One of the basic reasons why vaping is becoming very popular in the world is that compared to tobacco cigarettes, e cigarettes are not harmful in anyway. Tobacco cigarettes constitute of tar that result in serious health problems like throat cancer etc. Electronic cigarettes do not have this cancer-causing agent called tar, which is why you can easily vape them without having to worry about affecting your health.

Vape devices come in several different sizes. For vaping you need a vape pen, battery and also a charger or an extra battery if you have them.  A typical e cigarette has an e liquid in it, which is vaporized through the process of heating when a vaper vapes it.

Components of e liquid

E liquid is made up of four components: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine and flavorings. Let’s take a detailed look at all of these components.

Vegetable glycerin

Vegetable glycerin of VG is a diluting agent. It is used to thicken the consistency of e liquid and make it more satisfying. Vegetable glycerin is made with vegetable plants such as soy, coconut oil or palm. The property of a pure VG is that it is odorless and
colorless. Moreover, the taste is a bit sweet.

E liquids that have high dose of VG make bigger and denser clouds of vapor. Professional vapers opt for for e liquids with high levels of VG.

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol or PG is also a diluent. It is responsible for giving the throat hit that vapers get from vaping. People who are chain smokers are mostly habitual of the throat
hit. When they switch to vaping, PG provides them with a healthier alternative
to the same throat hit. This is why PG e liquids are pretty popular among smokers who have started vaping recently.

E liquids that have high amount of PG are not much thick and the clouds formed as a result are not big . Although PG is labeled safe and non-toxic by FDA, some people can
still develop sensitivity to PG .

Flavorings

Just like the name, flavorings are used to add some taste or flavor to the e liquid. When you buy an e liquid and it has strawberry or lime taste, it is because of the
Flavorings. There is a wide range of e liquid flavors available in the market, from milky chocolate to tobacco.

Nicotine

Compared to tobacco cigarettes, the amount of nicotine in e cigarettes is pretty less. There is no point of worrying about nicotine as it is also found in inhalers.

The reason why vaping is better than smoking is also not complicated. Unlike tobacco cigarettes, there is nothing that can be injurious to the vaper. Additionally, tobacco cigarettes do not only pose harm to the smokers but also the people around smokers in the shape of passive smoking. On the other hand, vaping has no adverse effect on anyone.

Survey and its results

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and a team of his colleagues conducted a survey in the United States to have a better idea about what kind of e liquid flavors is popular among vapers. The survey was called Flavors Survey, in which around 70,000 Americans who have either vaped or are currently vapers took part. The survey results have been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration.

When the government made Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on vape, it asked for feedback. Dr. Farsalinos who is a cardiologist and a research fellow, felt that it was his responsibility to gather data about vaping from vapers spread across the United States.

Dr. Farsalinos has also been the lead author of the survey report. The other team members included two of Dr. Farsalinos’ colleagues from University of Patras in Greece and a researcher from the Centre for Substance Use Research in the UK, Dr. Christopher Russell. The data extracted from the survey will be later published in an academic journal.

The questionnaire and also the study was articulated by Dr. Russell and Dr. Farsalinos. The sample of the survey constituted of anyone who was older than 17 years, was living in the US and had used an e-cigarette. Individuals who had vaped only once were also included in the survey.  The survey was uploaded on FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliant software, where participants can fill and submit it.

So that no person can fill the questionnaire more than once, the research team restricted the submission form to be submitted only once from a single American IP Address. Regardless of the precautions, duplicate entries were still made. The researchers were left with 69, 233 responses at the end.

Participants of the survey were from all the 50 states of the United States and District of Columbia. 72.4 percent of the participants were male, whereas the mean age of the group was witnessed to be 34.6. Out of the total number of participants, 95% had tried a tobacco cigarette somewhere in their life while 81.6% of the participants were full-fledged smokers at some point of their life.

Another interesting figure the survey revealed was that 81.3 percent of the participants were ex-smokers, while 68.2% of the individuals had quit smoking over 12 months ago.

The survey that Dr Russell conducted in 2016 showcased that adult vapers preferred sweet e liquid flavors over tobacco flavors. The survey of 2018 gave more insights on this topic and explored it in great detail. The survey showed an increased preference of dessert and fruit flavors among vapers in 2018, when compared to 2016. This shows that over-all preferences of vapers have changed over the past two years.

The 2016 survey result of Dr Russell concluded that 14.8% of ex-smokers preferred tobacco flavor whereas the new survey showed only 7.7% of the vapers liked tobacco flavor in e-liquid. This is a huge drop from 2016.

The 2018 survey also showed that even vapers who are still smoking like to vape non-tobacco flavors. All of the groups in the survey preferred fruit flavors, candy/chocolate/sweet and bakery/dessert/pastry. Among ex-smokers,82.3 percent of participated likes to vape fruit flavor sometimes, while 72.3% liked dessert sometimes and 47.7% of the participants like candy flavor e juices.

Regardless of the fact that a participant was an ex-smoker or not, tobacco flavor remained the least favorite vaped flavor among vapers.

Dr. Farsalinos said, “A few months ago, the FDA announced an ANPRM for flavors in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. They then opened a public comment docket where anyone could submit commentaries, opinions, proposals and data. As you may know, I am always trying my best to submit comments whenever there is this possibility, raising concerns and presenting potential problems with proposed regulations throughout the world. In this case, I also submitted a file which was NOT a comment or an opinion piece but the data from the big US Flavors survey that we completed in May.”

This survey is one of the responses in result on the regulation by FDA with reference to non-tobacco e liquid flavors. It has become pretty evident that vapers are not interested in tobacco flavors; they want to try healthier and better flavors instead. If the government bans non-tobacco e liquid flavors, they will be indirectly pushing vapers towards tobacco vaping.

While concluding the survey results, Dr. Farsalinos said, “In brief, we found extensive use of non-tobacco flavors among all smoking subgroups, including former smokers who were using e-cigarettes at the time of smoking cessation. Similar patterns were observed not only at e-cigarette use initiation but also at the time of smoking cessation and at the time of survey participation. Fruit and dessert/pastry/bakery flavors were the most prevalent choices of the adult established, dedicated US e-cigarette users who participated to this study. The same flavors were also considered particularly important in their effort to quit smoking and to prevent relapse to smoking.”

According to FDA, the regulation has been proposed so that adolescents do not feel the urge to try vaping. When the flavors would be limited, less people would want to have a taste. But FDA is also well-aware about the effects of vaping on smokers and how it effectively helping ex-smokers in making the transition to healthier lifestyles.

After the public has had their say about the FDA regulation, a new rule will be proposed by the FDA. After which, 60 days will be given to the public for further feedback after which a rule will be formulated and will be immediately in effect.

Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner in his press statement a few months back said that he feels flavored e cigarette e liquids are aiding in young people getting addicted to vaping. He also mentioned in the press statement that there’s no doubt non-tobacco flavored e juice played important role in ex-smokers from returning to tobacco smoking.

Gottlieb said, “We must  consider how best to address flavors in non-combustible products like e-cigarettes – given both their clear appeal to youth but also the potential role certain flavors may play in helping some adult smokers transition to potentially less harmful tobacco products. And they’ve also told me it was the flavors that helped them make that transition off combustible cigarettes. I’ve talked to ex-smokers, who’ve told me that they quit cigarettes altogether and that they now vape. Now I know anecdotes aren’t the same as data. And the ANPRM specifically seeks data on this issue.”

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