Fruit- and other sweet-flavored e-liquids and cartridges are at the heart of a vaping policy schism. Lined up on one side are the anti-vaping zealots, like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who argue that flavors are designed to appeal to young people to “hook” them on nicotine, and that they have fueled the so-called “youth e-cigarette epidemic.” On the other side, harm reduction proponents note that non-tobacco flavors, which most adults prefer, are critical to helping smokers switch.
How did the humble apple, banana and mango get caught in the crosshairs of the very sour vaping wars?
In the short video above, I interview Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a voluble vaping expert from Greece. He explains flavors’ universal appeal and why they play such an important role in helping smokers quit. “Everyone loves flavors, from the youngest to the oldest. That is human nature. You want to use something that is interesting,” he says.
Dr. Farsalinos—a cardiologist and research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, among other affiliations—is a world-renowned researcher in the field of tobacco harm reduction. Not content to confine his efforts to academia, he has written and spoken prolifically in defense of e-cigarettes and flavors. He recently published, The Case for Flavours in Tobacco Harm Reduction, to Save Lives—an exhaustive examination of the link between flavored nicotine products and success in stopping smoking. The report also explains the negative consequences of flavor bans, which have spread across US jurisdictions and in many other countries.
For Farsalinos, vaping is also deeply personal. E-cigarettes helped him quit smoking and his 72-year-old mother, too. She smoked cigarettes for 50 years. He likes fruit-flavored vapes; mom loves cappuccino.
His passion-and-expertise combo makes him a leading voice in a debate on which lives depend.