The Flavor of the Day

The study, an online survey conducted by Saul Shiffman, a pharmaceutical industry consultant and psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh, found that young people were not particularly attracted to the flavors. Flavors did make e-cigarettes more attractive to adult smokers, Professor Shiffman concluded.

In a recent NYT article covering the use of flavors in e-cigarettes there is mention of a study that concluded flavors do not increase the appeal of smoking to children (E-Cigarette Makers Are in an Arms Race for Exotic Vapor Flavors ).  In a rebuttal to this study the article turns to a chemistry professor who has studied cancer risks associated with smoking.  His exact quote is "It defies logic to think that such flavors would not make e-cigarette use more appealing and even normal for children.”  Mr. Pankow (article did not refer to him as having a Doctorate) makes it clear that intuition reigns supreme and that clinical studies which run contrary to his "logical" notions are to be discounted.  Heady coming from an individual who teaches science for a living.

Is cherry flavor the right of only those under the age of 18?  Starbucks serves up one of the most addictive products in the world to millions of people (it's called caffeine) and they flood it with all types of flavorings.  Where is Mr. Pankow's outrage at Starbucks for hooking the next generation on a products whose negative health affects are on par with nicotine.

Children (like adults) are attracted to nicotine and caffeine not because of the flavorings but because of the stimulant and the societal norms attributed to the habits of their consumption.

We need to turn our attention to making sure that children don't use e-cigarettes.  This is not going to happen through removing flavors from adults.  Policies based upon science and not empirical "logic" need to be promoted and in the end we need to stay focused on empowering Americans to use products that lead them to a healthier lifestyle.


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