Monday, 16 November 2015

Is Tobacco Flavour really the most popular?

Yet again this entry was provoked by a twitter conversation(if you are not on there you should try it!) and was a request for flavours,used specifically by UK Vapers from Lorien J . This,as is usual on twitter produced a flood of information exceedingly quickly. However,some glaring differences quickly emerged, that shall be what I highlight,and examine the possible causes and implications.

ASH Data  (See page 7 of the pdf)
This implies in this survey of 605, that tobacco flavours are clearly the most popular in sole(n=239) and dual-users(n= 366).However,this data would not agree either with perception of the market,or more definitively with studies, but it is acknowledged in the document that less than 5% use e-cigarettes without flavouring 

Vaping Truth surveys via Kevin Crowley

This  data was accrued from a combination of Twitter,Forums and Facebook , yielding 983 results from the UK(out of a far larger World-wide Survey of 7300)

Here it states that only 5.3% solely use a tobacco flavour,with approximately 85% using a variety of different flavours on a regular basis  Anomoly 1

Impact of Flavour Variability .....etc via Konstantinos Farsalinos et al


To an untrained eye,this data appears misleading at first glance,but clearly shows that tobacco flavours are used by 1984 people out of a total of 12,909 who responded (15.4%)  Anomoly 2

This data at initiation shows a marked difference, to single out tobacco flavours 3118 users out of a total of  8607(36%),this figure appears more consistent with ASH data   

A better alternative link is here  

Sadly this led to a wild goose chase,with nothing of value discovered on flavours * 

Tobacco Flavours = 22.3%   Anomoly3   

Nicotine and Flavour Preferences Survey  

This survey of 1943 participants(and highly recommended as a resource) once again clearly demonstrates the lack of consumer desire in tobacco flavours  Anomoly4 

I could continue in this vein,but minimum research(simply from the afor-mentioned tweets via Twitter) allowed me to get to this point.A far more detailed approach is required to fully myth-bust, but this at least confirms a few doubts and suspicions.

Does it Matter? 

As we are all aware, flavours are a very important factor to the success of e-cigarette users in Relapse Prevention,Initiation, ASH acknowledge this with the afor quoted <5% using unflavoured liquids. This information is important to regulators. In the last survey cited, 94% stated that flavours were either very important or important to the user

However,some regulators such as Finland wish to ban all flavourings in e-cigarettes,this is only a hunch but do they mistakenly perceive that unflavoured e-cigarette juice has a tobacco tasting flavour? 

Why do the anomolies exist, is it statistical error? :- I agree that some of the data collected here to demonstrate this point was not UK specific, but I did not cherry pick the results, they were simply the first to be located. There may be a selection bias from where the anomolous data was collected(typically enthusiasts),so is the ASH survey representative of the general population with a sample size of 605?

ASH should undertake another far larger,more detailed and probing study forthwith(ask NNA or ECF etc for assistance in study question design). ASH appears broadly supportive of e-cigs,consequently, enhanced data would most certainly be advantageous to all concerned, especially as they(ASH) are referred to as a credible information source .