What are the Consequences of Flavor Bans?
Next week, California voters will decide on a statewide ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products. We talked to Markus Lindblad, Head of Communication at Nicokick, about the referendum and the consequences of a ban on flavored nicotine products.
Why is Nicokick engaged in this issue?
Nicokick has seen a growing number of Americans switch to smokeless, tobacco-free lifestyles and choose flavored nicotine products to quit smoking. For most customers, our products are a means to achieve the benefits of quitting smoking altogether.
In fact, in some parts of the world, new nicotine products are seen as an essential part of minimizing the harmful effects of smoking. In concrete terms, this enables people to switch from combustible tobacco to less harmful and attractive nicotine alternatives, such as nicotine pouches. Flavors are an essential part of making nicotine pouches attractive for smokers. What is more important, saving lives or preventing people from using nicotine?
Do nicotine products have to be flavored to be attractive?
Flavored nicotine pouches are more attractive for smokers than non-flavored nicotine pouches. Many of our customers have successfully quit smoking because of nicotine pouches, and they often describe how important flavoring has been in helping them to quit. Smokers prefer to break with the taste of tobacco through flavored nicotine products. Research from Norway also suggests that regulators should be careful to limit the attractiveness of safer nicotine alternatives.
But aren't flavors attracting young people and non-smokers?
Although there is some new recruitment of nicotine users via flavored nicotine products, the vast majority of those who use nicotine pouches are former smokers. Young people must be prevented from getting hold of these products, but this is best done through age controls and anti-dealing legislation, not a flavor ban.
What are the potential public health implications?
In countries where oral nicotine products have been available for a long time and where they are both attractive and accessible, the proportion of the population who smoke is lower or decreases faster. We see that the sum of nicotine users over time is the same in markets that allow smoking and flavored nicotine products. The difference is that markets with flavored nicotine products have lower smoking-related deaths increasingly. It's good for public health, but more importantly for the individual who manages to quit smoking with the help of less harmful nicotine products and can look forward to a longer life with loved ones.