Fruit-flavoured vapes could be banned in the UK as the Government looks to curb growing levels of addiction among young people.

Public Health Minister Neil O’Brien is expected to call for an investigation on ways to tackle youth vaping in a speech next month, ITV reports.

The possibility of banning fruity flavours, which are enticing to children, is on the cards, according to reports.

Dr Katherine East, the study’s senior author from King’s College London: “Our study found that removing brand imagery from packs reduced appeal of vapes to teenagers without reducing appeal to adults.

“This is a vital difference, as it means that vapes can still appeal to adults as a tool to stop smoking, particularly because our previous research has established vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking.”

If the government is devoted to making England smoke-free by 2030 this will be a big step backwards for ex-smokers or smokers looking to quit.

More than 3.5 million people in the UK now use electronic cigarettes. That’s the main finding in a new report released by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) looking at how UK attitudes to e-cigs have changed in the last 10 years. The wide ranging report – looking at everything from e-cigarettes’ contribution to lower smoking rates, to misconceptions about their health risks – has revealed a massive change in attitudes towards e-cigarettes since 2010. Here we look at the key findings of ASH’s report and see what it could mean for the future of the UK’s electronic cigarette market.

What are the most popular vape Flavours in the UK for ex-smokers?

In 2021, fruity flavours are the most popular, followed by menthol and tobacco flavours. In 2015, 38% said tobacco was their favourite flavour, followed by 25% that said they preferred fruity flavours and 19% that liked menthol flavours. The evidence shows that our attitudes to e-cigarettes and vaping have changed drastically over the years. With more and more people saying it helped them succeed in quitting for good, there’s never been a better time to try it for yourself. Get in touch with a specialist provider for more information on products on offer and how they can help you kick the habit.


Use of e-cigarettes is largely confined to current and ex-smokers and use amongst never smokers remains low. Of the 3.6 million current vapers, just fewer than 2.4 million are ex-smokers; 1.1 million are current smokers; and just fewer than 200,000 are never smokers. Over time, the proportion of current electronic cigarette users who smoke tobacco has fallen, while the proportion who is ex-smokers has risen.

This means that, in every year since 2017, most e-cigarette users have been ex-smokers, rather than dual users or never smokers. However, there are more ex-smokers (34%) than current smokers (13%) in the adult population. As a result, only 13.5% of ex-smokers vape compared to 16.9% of current smokers.

Quoting from the government website;

MYTH – E-cigarettes will lead young people into smoking

Our latest report found no evidence so far to support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people. UK surveys show that young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, but regular use is rare and confined almost entirely to those who already smoke. Meanwhile, smoking rates among young people in the UK continue to decline.

There is also no evidence to support the assertion that vaping is “normalising smoking”. In the years when adult and youth vaping in the UK were increasing, the numbers of young people believing that it was ‘not ok’ to smoke was accelerating. Of course, PHE will continue to monitor the trends in e-cigarette use alongside those in smoking.

MYTH – E-cigarettes are being used as a Trojan horse – so the tobacco industry can keep people smoking.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are encouraging people to continue smoking – the picture in the UK suggests the opposite. The proportion of e-cigarette users who are ex-smokers has been increasing over recent years.

Of the 3.2 million adult e-cigarette users in the UK, more than half have completely stopped smoking. A further 770,000 have given up both smoking and vaping. At the same time, quit success rates have been improving and we’re seeing an accelerated drop in smoking rates, currently at a record low of 14.9% in England.


Myth – E-cigarettes don’t help you quit smoking

Separate from our review, a major UK NIHR funded clinical trial was published in February 2019. Involving nearly 900 participants, it found that in Local Stop Smoking Services, a standard e-cigarette was twice as effective at helping smokers to quit compared with the quitters’ choice of combination nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Both groups were provided with behavioural support and those in the e-cigarette group had significantly faster reductions in cough and phlegm.

Using the same logic, the same argument could be made about alcohol. Should we just make alcohol just one flavour or do we carry on making them attractive to minors like gin that changes colour when poured?

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Personally I quit using Banana Ice and Sweet Cherry flavours. I’ve tried tobacco flavour (yes it is still a flavour) and found them to taste disgusting and reminds me of when I used to smoke, always leaving the door open to returning to deadly tobacco products. Now I enjoy a lot of different exotic flavours  and a ban will only create and black-market which we already have taking into account shops and companies selling illegal vapes and that approximately one in three disposables sold in the UK are fake.

Smoking costs the NHS £17 billion a year and also needs pointing out youth smoking has reduced which can only be a good thing.

2022 ASH survey data (11 to 18 year olds) showed:
  • smoking prevalence (including occasional and regular smoking) was 6% in 2022 (compared with 4.1% in 2021 and 6.7% in 2020)
  • vaping prevalence (including occasional and regular vaping) was 8.6% in 2022 (compared with 4% in 2021 and 4.8% in 2020)

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE HARM OF E-CIGARETTES In previous years, the number of adults who (inaccurately) believed vaping to be as, if not more dangerous than smoking hovered around one in four. This number rose significantly this year, with 37% saying they think using vape devices are more than or equally as harmful as tobacco cigarettes. Smokers who also currently use e-cigarettes had the most accurate perception of their harm, with 65% thinking them much less harm – but this is down from 71% in 2019.

Tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence

NICE guideline covers support to stop smoking for everyone aged 12 and over, and help to reduce people’s harm from smoking if they are not ready to stop in one go. It also covers ways to prevent children, young people and young adults aged 24 and under from taking up smoking. The guideline brings together and updates all NICE’s previous guidelines on using tobacco, including smokeless tobacco. It covers nicotine replacement therapy and e-cigarettes to help people stop smoking or reduce their harm from smoking. It does not cover using tobacco products such as ‘heat not burn’ tobacco.

See also  Calls for banning flavoured e-cigarettes!

The message has always been clear, if you don’t smoke, don’t vape. If you do smoke vaping is a 95% safer nicotine.

On May 6, 2020, the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) published an article by Brian Erkkila, Patricia Kovacevic, and Derek Yach titled, “Restricting Flavors in ENDS Could Have Repercussions Beyond Youths’ Use.” The authors review recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory guidance on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including plans to restrict access to nicotine vaping ‘flavors.’  The new FDA restrictions were driven, in part, by concerns about underage nicotine vaping.

Some US tobacco control advocates and experts claim that ‘flavours’ attract teens, and that restricting ‘flavours’ will reduce under-age nicotine vaping (which is already illegal). For evidence, they point to surveys showing that teens initiate nicotine vaping with ‘flavour,’ and that teens say they like ‘flavours.’ There are serious flaws in that logic.

Tobacco Harm Reduction

The rapid rise of smoke-free nicotine products, especially vaping, is the most disruptive influence on smoking in decades. These products are challenging not only smoked tobacco’s stranglehold on the nicotine market but also the public health response to tobacco harm reduction, including by WHO. 

 In October, 2018, 72 experts with no connections to the tobacco industry wrote to the WHO Director-General to argue that WHO should embrace innovation and more actively include tobacco harm reduction in its strategy to tackle the burden of smoking-related disease. 

 However, the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2019

 continues to underappreciate the potential of low-risk alternatives to smoking.