Could ban on flavoured vapes curb use among young people?

By George Hancorn, ITV News' Here's The Story

A complete ban on flavoured vapes might be the answer to curbing disposable e-cigarette use - that's one proposal that's been looked at by a senior researcher at one leading UK university.

Dr Jasmine Khouja, Senior Research Associate in Smoking Studies at Bristol Medical School, has been researching whether a ban on flavoured vapes - to be replaced with flavourless or menthol alternatives - could have the desired effect.

Some experts believe the huge range of flavoured disposable vapes is a factor in the rise in popularity of vaping among younger people.

“Sweet flavours, fruity flavours, flavours with an ice-menthol hit seem to be quite popular at the moment", explains Dr Khouja.

“There are constantly new products being brought out and then constant shifts in popularity, depending on brands and products.” 

There are thought to be more than 350 different varieties of flavoured vapes.

It doesn't take much searching on TikTok to discover the wide range of videos featuring many popular vape brands.

The true public health impact of disposable vapes is still widely unknown, but they are seen by many as a better alternative to smoking, especially due to the lack of tobacco.

Many of the most popular e-cigarette products on the market are made outside of the UK – with China, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of them, having banned the sale of the products in the country completely.  

Health Experts in the US are also thought to be looking into whether banning flavoured vapes would prevent more young people taking to them.  

"You have this experimental phase in youth which can massively impact what you try – so there are many, many other factors other than just flavours – but flavours do make them attractive as well.  

"It’s potentially quite an easy thing to do – just to say absolutely no flavours at all."

Other proposals outlined at the E-Cigarette Summit held in London last week include banning the sale to under-21s, tougher restrictions on marketing of vapes and changing the way they’re packaged. 

Are we ever likely to see a flavour ban? 

Dr Khouja believes it could be some time yet.

“I think it’s unlikely – but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.”