‘It’s just like a candy shop. They sell every flavour you desire.’’ Dutch student Lotte Douwes (22) tried to quit smoking by starting vaping. She chose the flavours sunrise and fruity yoghurt and enjoyed her smokable nicotine tasting candy. ‘’It was a good way to slowly stop my nicotine intake.’’
The vape-industry has rapidly gained popularity all over Europe. However, vaping is most popular in the United Kingdom (UK). It has the world’s third highest sales of e-cigarettes. Government health officials are promoting vaping as a healthier alternative as opposed to smoking and it moreover is a good opportunity to reduce ordinary cigarette smoking. However, there is just one detail. The UK currently is under European Union (EU) tobacco restrictions and they are not allowed to change the law prior to Brexit.
Buy a vape!
The British government wants to get rid of the health warnings on nicotine advertising and packaging which became EU restrictions in 2016. Right now, the government feels like they are missing a chance to reduce the amount of smoking, because they cannot promote e-cigarettes. If looser tobacco laws come into place, the government feels like vaping could be much better promoted. Furthermore, in the public health policy it could be used as a tool to make increasingly more people quit.
Loosen the nicotine
When looser British tobacco laws are applied, more nicotine could be added to a sunrise flavoured cigarette. The government believes that this would help heavy smokers to make the switch. Currently, the maximum amount of nicotine allowed in an e-cigarette is 20 mg/ml.
Cynthia de Jongh from Damp-E, an e-cigarette store in Utrecht (The Netherlands), doesn’t agree with this. ‘’20 mg/ml nicotine is already more than enough.’’ Almost all of her clients buy an e-cigarette to reduce their nicotine intake, just like Lotte did. ‘’So, why would the British government want to put more nicotine in it? The idea of reducing the intake would be all gone.’’ According to her, it’s also not consumer friendly if the e-cigarette contains more nicotine. ‘’It will slightly burn down your throat.’’
However, the nicotine flavours are the top sellers in the Damp-E store. ‘’People want to stay close to the real deal of smoking.’’ For Lotte these nicotine flavours weren’t the real deal. ‘’It didn’t really taste like tobacco; it was too much of an artificial flavour.’’
Did sunrise and fruity yoghurt kept her away of smoking a real cigarette? ‘’For four months it did, and I did reduce my nicotine intake.’’ She started at 16 mg of nicotine and ended at 3 mg (the lowest). ‘’But I just really missed the whole thing of smoking a real cigarette. Lighting it up, the first puff and the burning feeling down your throat. Also, the candy flavours didn’t match at night. I wanted something strong. Like real tobacco.’’ Although the popularity of vaping is rising, it couldn’t match the real deal for Lotte.