Appeal of e-cigarette flavors: Differences between never and ever use of combustible cigarettes

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2023 May 1:246:109849. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2023.109849. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Background: Characterizing the appeal of flavored e-cigarette solutions by tobacco product use status can inform regulations to reduce vaping in those who never smoked without discouraging adopting e-cigarettes as a quit-smoking aid.

Methods: Adults aged 21+ who currently use tobacco products (N = 119) self-administered standardized puffs of eight non-tobacco flavored and two tobacco-flavored e-cigarette solutions using a pod-style device. Participants rated appeal (0-100 scale) following each administration. Mean differences in flavor appeal ratings were compared between four groups: people who never smoked/currently vape, formerly smoked/currently vape, currently smoke/currently vape, and currently smoke/do not vape (with interest in vaping).

Results: The Global Flavor (all non-tobacco vs. tobacco)×Group interaction (p = .028) revealed higher appeal for non-tobacco vs. tobacco flavors in adults who never smoked/currently vape (B[95 %CI] = 13.6[4.1-23.1]), formerly smoked/currently vape (B[95 %CI] = 11.6[4.2-18.9]), and currently smoke/currently vape (B[95 %CI] = 9.3[2.5-11.6]), but not adults who currently smoke/never vaped (B[95 %CI] = -0.1[-5.1 to 4.9]). In flavor-specific analyses, adults who never smoked/currently vape rated strawberry (p = .022), peppermint (p = .028), and menthol (p = .028) more appealing than tobacco flavors. Among adults who formerly smoked/currently vape, strawberry (p < .001), peppermint (p = .009), and vanilla (p = .009), were more appealing than tobacco. Adults who currently smoked/currently vape rated peppermint (p = .022) and vanilla (p = .009) as more appealing than tobacco. No non-tobacco flavors were more appealing than tobacco in adults who currently smoke/never vaped.

Conclusions: E-cigarette sales restrictions on non-tobacco flavors, including menthol, may eliminate products preferred by adults who vape, including those who never smoked, without discouraging adults who currently smoke and never vaped from trying e-cigarettes.

Trial registration: NCT04399031.

Keywords: Cigarette smoking; Dual use; E-cigarettes; Non-tobacco flavors; Tobacco use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Humans
  • Menthol
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Vaping*


  • Flavoring Agents
  • Menthol
  • Smoke

Associated data