Introduction: Flavored e-cigarettes are enticing to new users and established cigarette smokers using e-cigarettes to quit smoking due to the wide variety of flavor options. However, specific flavor combinations that are popular among e-cigarette users are understudied. Recently, the Deeming rule extended the US Food and Drug Administration's authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
Methods: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study Wave 2 data were analyzed to assess the prevalence of self-reported flavor categories that are used individually and in combination with other flavor categories among past 30-day youth and adult e-cigarette users in the US.
Results: Most youth and adult participants reported using a flavored e-cigarette. Reporting an individual flavor category was more common than reporting a combination of flavor categories. Fruit flavor was the most common flavor category reported among youth, and 'menthol/mint' was most common among adults. Fruit and candy/other sweets were the most common flavor categories reported together among both youth and adult past 30-day e-cigarette users.
Conclusions: The use of flavored e-cigarettes is very popular among youth and adults. Most consumers reported using a single flavor category, although some consumers did use a combination of flavor categories. Preference for menthol/mint among adults may represent a carryover from associations with tobacco cigarettes. Typically, sweeter flavors, such as fruit, were among the most popular flavor categories reported, both individually and in combination with other flavors, while more bitter flavors (i.e.: clove/spice) were less common.
Implications: This study identified predominant flavor categories among past 30-day youth and adult e-cigarette users. Findings indicate that the wide variety of flavors available and the freedom to "mix-and-match" flavors may maintain use of e-cigarettes among youth and adults, and future research should focus on the composition of the ENDS liquid/vapor to disentangle the contributions of sweeteners and flavorants.