Background: The prevalence of electronic cigarette use has grown over the past decade, with some users reportedly initiating e-cigarette use primarily due to flavors. This study examined the role of flavors in initiation among adult e-cigarette users, as well as the association of flavors with satisfaction and perceived addiction to vaping.
Methods: The analysis sample consisted of 1492 current e-cigarette users aged 18 or older, drawn from an online quantitative survey conducted in 2016. Multivariable logistic regression and general linear models were used.
Results: Most current e-cigarette users (62.9%) typically used flavors other than tobacco (including fruit, mint/menthol, sweet, candy, coffee and other), 24.2% typically used tobacco flavors, and 12.9% typically used non-flavored e-cigarettes. Flavor was a common reason for vaping initiation, selected by 29.5% of the sample. Flavor, particularly fruit flavor, was more likely to motivate young adults 18-24 to initiate vaping compared adults 35-44. Those who used flavors, particularly mint/menthol and flavors other than tobacco flavor, had higher odds of reporting high satisfaction with vaping and had higher odds of perceived addiction to vaping than respondents who did not use flavored e-cigarettes.
Conclusions: Users of flavored e-cigarettes reported greater satisfaction and self-perceived addiction than users of non-flavored e-cigarettes. The appeal of flavors, particularly among young adults, has implications for regulatory policy regarding the marketing and promotion of flavored products. These findings may provide direction for the Food and Drug Administration's plans to restrict flavors other than menthol, mint, and tobacco.
Keywords: Addiction; Adults; Electronic nicotine delivery systems; Flavoring agents; Special populations.
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