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Ice flavoured e-cigarette use tied to nicotine dependence among young adults: Study

ANI | Updated: Jun 15, 2021 07:46 IST

Washington [US], June 15 (ANI): According to a new study, the use of ice flavoured e-cigarettes may be common and positively associated with conventional smoking and nicotine dependence among young adults.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Tobacco Control.
It's unclear where these hybrid vapes, combining fruit/sweet and cooling flavours, fit into current or future regulatory frameworks, which apply restrictions according to distinct flavour categories, pointed out the study authors.
Ice flavoured e-cigarettes--marketed as a combination of fruity/sweet and cooling flavours, such as 'blueberry ice' or 'melon ice'-- recently entered the US market. Previous research suggested that young adult vapers prefer either fruit/sweet or menthol/mint flavours.
To try and gauge the appeal of these 'hybrid' vape flavours, and see if they might be linked to other behaviours around vaping and smoking among young adults, the study authors drew on 344 online survey responses submitted between May and August 2020.
The survey was part of the Happiness and Health Study, a prospective study of health behaviours that originally recruited 3396 ninth-grade students in Los Angeles, California, in 2013.
The survey aimed to find out if respondents vaped and if so, which flavour they had used most often in the preceding 30 days: menthol/mint; fruit/sweet; or ice.
Respondents, whose average age was 21, were also asked if they smoked regular cigarettes, what symptoms of vaping dependency they had, and how often, and what type of vaping device they used.
Among the 407 ethnically diverse respondents who had vaped in the past 30 days, 383 provided information on flavours, but after excluding those who responded 'flavourless' or 'tobacco flavoured', the final analysis included 344 responses.

Overall, 168 (49 per cent) reported most often using ice flavours; 60 (17 per cent) menthol/mint; and 116 (34 per cent) fruit/sweet.
Compared with the vapers of menthol/mint flavoured e-cigarettes, those vaping ice flavoured e-cigarettes were more likely to report smoking regular cigarettes over the previous 30 days: 31.5 per cent vs 22 per cent.
Ice flavour vapers were also less likely than menthol/mint vapers to report using rechargeable devices and more likely than fruit/sweet flavour users to use disposable non-cartridge devices: 65 per cent vs 35 per cent.
Disposable e-cigarettes are among the fastest growing segments of the e-cigarette market, note the study authors.
Ice flavour vapers were more likely to report symptoms of vaping dependence than fruit/sweet flavour vapers (67 per cent vs 43 per cent), to have started vaping during high school (74 per cent vs 65 per cent), and to report more daily vaping episodes: around 11 vs 8.
And they were also more likely than fruit/sweet or menthol/mint flavour vapers to report more vaping days over the past month: average 17 vs 12.
The study authors pointed out that their research relied on recall and didn't measure nicotine intake nor did it differentiate between e-cigarettes containing nicotine and those that didn't.
"While causality cannot be inferred from this cross sectional study," they caution, "it is possible that exposure to e-cigarettes in ice flavours may somehow increase nicotine vaping frequency and dependence," they added.
"Previous clinical laboratory studies show that fruit and menthol flavours each independently increase the appeal of e-cigarettes and suppress the aversive qualities of nicotine in young adults by creating perceptions of sweetness and coolness, respectively," they explained.
"Because ice flavours represent a hybrid that may contain both cooling and fruity flavouring constituents, it is unclear how these flavours fit into current and future regulatory policies that place differential restrictions across different flavour categories," they highlighted.
"Further studies of the specific cooling agents and chemical constituents in ice flavoured products and the health effects of ice flavoured e-cigarette use are warranted," they concluded. (ANI)