Ecigarette Flavours Helping People Give Up Smoking?
With news that ecigarette users tend to prefer the non tobacco flavours, there seems to be an unexpected consequence. When attempting to give up smoking myself and first contemplated using ecigarettes, I worried initially that by vaping tobacco flavoured e-cigarettes I would be reinforcing the desire to smoke. This psychological problem was highlighted by Allen Carr in his book 'The Easy Way to Give Up Smoking'. I have read the book and got some use out of it, but I always only gave up for a few months using his purely psychological approach. He argues in the book that one must always and strictly avoid nicotine replacement therapies, because you supposedly keep the nicotine genie alive. This was the part I most disagreed with in his book. I have found nicotine replacement to make the process a lot easier, and given the increasing possibility of potential health benefits of nicotine, particularly to the brain, together with the very low cost of ecigarettes and liquids, I don't currently see a reason to actually 'go the whole hog' and cut nicotine out altogether.
So what I have wondered here is that maybe the e-cig is both similar enough, yet different enough, to make you conditioned to a nicer alternative, and that makes cigarettes seem so much more unappealing. I think this is a legitimate area for the psychology labcoats to research - that eliquids in completely un-cigarette like flavours, and the comparative differences between the tobacco flavours and the experience of actually smoking, makes the psychological associations we form with nicotine different, and against the toxic fumes of normal tobacco burning, and that means it creates a strong psychological aversion to smoking conventional cigarettes. The slow delivery of other nicotine replacement therapies also raises the chances of relapsing. This could help to explain the significant success I have had and as others I know, who completely gave up, in spite of trying flavorless nicotine replacement therapy, gums, patches, and even prescription drugs like Zyban, which they managed only after switching to e-cigs.
With the tobacco flavoured liquids, the good thing is they act like a half-way house. They are just familiar enough to satisfy your initial cravings, and different enough, that if you relapse after a week or two and smoke normal cigarettes, the effect is so foul, that it quickly becomes easier and more natural to vape.
Certainly it's a thought.
And the idea that flavours might be important factors in the success of people who give up tobacco smoking has given support by earlier research by Dr Farsalinos, which I have just stumbled across, and the results can be seen here. Given that the evidence of young people who were never smokers taking up the habit solely through vaping is much weaker than was thought, can those employed in tobacco harm reduction really be complacent on this issue and propose bans on sweeter flavourings, if that may lower the chances of quitting? His work using a scientifically published survey suggests that users typically rotate around three different flavours and that the more flavours used by vapers, the more likely they were to quit smoking. The most popular were fruit flavoured e-liquids.
Research by Associate Professor Chris Bulle has shown that vaping seems to be the most popular method amongst those who have tried various methods for giving up smoking. Dr Ron Borland a researcher at Cancer Council Victoria, says "Our research is indicating that there is actually a significant segment of the population who, for a variety of reasons, are so addicted that they can't quit with the current armory of resources available to them....There is no doubt that e-cigarettes are sealing that deal with a fraction of that population, but how big that fraction is and how big it could be, we don't know"