In a recent statement, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) has taken the P.E.I. Lung Association to task over its push for a flavor ban.

CVA’s statement comes out swinging and pulls no punches:

“It is disappointing that once again a Canadian health advocacy organisation has failed to make science-based recommendations regarding vaping.  Our trusted health organizations continue to make alarmist and uninformed statements with complete disregard for harm reduction and public health.”

Pointing out that CVA is also concerned about youth vaping, and stating that vaping, “should be used only by adults trying to stop smoking. Youth should not have access to vaping products, period,” CVA goes on to point out that the availability of flavored vapor products has been shown not to be the cause for youth experimentation:

“While the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) shares the concerns about youth uptake, banning flavours is not the answer, as research shows that flavours are not the key driver for use among youth. “Among middle and high school students who ever tried using e-cigarettes, the most common reason for e-cigarette use was ‘I was curious about them.’ (55.3 percent),” the CDC in its report Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2019.  This in-depth study into youth uptake concluded that 77 percent of youth experiment with vaping for reasons other than flavours.”

The question is, why are youth curious about them? How much of that curiosity is organic — i.e., how many are curious because they saw an adult vaping in the natural course of their daily routine — and how much of that curiosity is, in fact, due to the increased visibility of vapor products to youth promoted by anti- youth vaping campaigners as seen through the adolescent psychological filter of, “Adults say I mustn’t do this, therefore if I want to be cool, I should totally do this”?

CVA then goes on to point out that the PEI Lung Association’s drive to ban flavored vapor products will have a disproportionate negative impact on adult vapers, saying:

“The crucial role that flavours play in an adult smoker’s transition from combustible tobacco is documented in many medical journals. Most notably the study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which concluded if flavours were removed from vaping products there would be an 8.3 percent increase in tobacco use among adults. The New England Journal of medicine has also concluded through a controlled trial that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as any other cessation method.”

CVA then goes in for the knockout blow: explaining exactly why flavors are so crucial in vaping. To wit:

“For non-vapers, it can be confusing why flavours are such an integral factor. Why do flavours matter when the nicotine addiction can be satisfied without them? This is due to the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. It regulates autonomic or endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and is involved in reinforcing behaviours. Flavours invoke a positive emotional response because of the limbic system. Psychologists call this positive psychotherapy. Because of the flavours in vapour products, the brain begins to attach positive associations to vaping. This is incredibly effective in reducing cravings. For smokers looking to quit, flavours are a fundamental component. This phenomenon is not unique to vapour products.  The Behavioural Pharmacology Research Unit at John Hopkins University School of Medicine performed a study with other nicotine replacement therapy’s (NRT) which showed that flavours reduce cravings and increase success rates.  This same study found that there was no connection between flavours and increased abuse potential.”

Winner: Canadian Vaping Association.

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