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INNCO Calls on National and Local Governments to Conduct Health Impact Studies Before Imposing E-cigarette ‘Flavour’ Prohibitions

Research Analysis Finds ‘Flavour’ Bans Counterproductive to Public health

Geneva, Switzerland – The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) is recommending that any national or local government that is considering the imposition of a ‘flavour’ ban on nicotine vapes (“e-cigarettes”) should first conduct a careful health impact assessment to determine how many adult vapers will relapse to smoking, how many fewer smokers will quit, and how many teen vapers may shift to cigarette smoking.

This call to action was made in INNCO’s recently released Position Statement on Potential Bans of ‘Flavoured’ Nicotine Vapes; an independent analysis by ex-smokers which provides policy makers with compelling, science-based arguments on why bans on flavours of low-risk nicotine products are counterproductive to reducing harm caused by smoking.

“Nicotine gum has been available for three decades. It is available over the counter in many countries. It is on the WHO’s list of essential drugs. Nicotine gum comes in fruit flavour, fruit medley flavour, cinnamon flavour, mint flavour, and menthol flavour. It doesn’t come in tobacco flavour! The reason, obviously, is that the pharmaceutical industry knows that no smoker trying to quit would ever buy that. If no one uses it, it doesn’t help anyone quit smoking,” said Charles A. Gardner, Ph.D., Executive Director of INNCO.

The six key arguments against nicotine vape ‘flavour’ prohibition outlined in INNCO’s position paper are as follows:

  • Nicotine vapes are one of the best tools to help people reduce and/or quit smoking
  • ‘Flavours’ increase the likelihood of smoking cessation with nicotine vapes
  • ‘Flavour’ bans will cause adult vapers to relapse to smoking, which is more harmful
  • The fear that nicotine vaping is a gateway to smoking is unfounded
  • ‘Flavour’ bans will inevitably result in less-safe illicit, or ‘bootleg,” markets
  • Adults have a right to choose the smoking cessation method that is right for them

INNCO’s position is that ‘flavour’ bans will do far more harm than good, and actually run counter to the latest scientific evidence. It is vital that products proven to help people reduce/quit smoking are not made intentionally less acceptable to adult smokers who want to quit, and to adult vapers who want to stay quit.

“We know, without a doubt, that cigarettes kill,” added Gardner, “and we understand the challenge faced by policymakers, assessing the tension between the two key perspectives – whether non-tobacco flavors are a risk to youth vaping initiation vs whether they are a boon for adult smoking cessation. The evidence-based analysis contained in INNCO’s Position on Potential Bans of ‘Flavoured’ Nicotine Vapes can be used to balance reducing deadly harms caused by smoking and other toxic tobacco against concerns over under-age dependence on nicotine.”

INNCO recommends that Policy makers should be mindful of the potential unintended consequences of simplistic prohibitions. This is particularly true in the USA where teen vaping has already dropped dramatically.


International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) is a non-profit alliance of 37 volunteer-led Member Organisations all over the world. We support the rights of 98 million adults who use safer nicotine to avoid toxic forms of tobacco. INNCO is funded by individual contributions from thousands of ex-smokers, and by a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). The FSFW is a US nonprofit 501(c)(3) private foundation with a mission to end smoking in this generation. INNCO is independent. Our mission, purpose and goals are driven by our Member Organisations and focus on promoting Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) – a public health policy that respects individual autonomy, empowers consumers to make safer choices, and offers pragmatic solutions to combating use of high-risk forms of tobacco. Our member organisations are led by unpaid volunteers (ex-smokers) who, as a condition of membership, agree not to accept funding or direction from industry. More information can be found by visiting: www.innco.org.

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