The UK’s most successful vape company, Elfbar, has begun discontinuing popular flavours in their disposables in response to government plans.
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has recently brought to light their concerns regarding potential government actions that may influence the vaping community and public health negatively. The association urges consumers to participate in the ongoing government consultation on teen vaping, which is set to conclude on Wednesday night. The IBTVA expresses apprehension that certain government proposals could lead to “excessive restrictions” with detrimental effects on both the vaping industry and public health initiatives.
In its effort to understand public opinion, the IBTVA commissioned the market research firm Opinium to conduct interviews with 6,000 adults, focusing on their vaping and smoking behaviours. A significant finding from this survey revealed that should a levy be imposed on vaping products, as advocated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), approximately 1,500 respondents indicated they might vape less and revert to smoking more, or abandon vaping altogether in favour of smoking. Alarmingly, 12% of those surveyed also admitted they would consider purchasing vapes from the unregulated black market.
The government has expressed its commitment to achieving a Smokefree England by 2030. However, the IBVTA, based on the data from the Opinium survey, warns that taxing vaping products could hinder this goal by compelling individuals to return to traditional smoking.
Value of Flavours
Marcus Saxton, Chair of the IBVTA, emphasises the organisation’s support for the Prime Minister’s ambition to create a smoke-free generation – a vision with bipartisan backing that has the potential to save millions of lives. Saxton acknowledges the role of vaping in this endeavour and points out the challenges the industry has faced, particularly with the influx of illicit products and the negligence of certain retailers in preventing underage sales. Saxton cautions against policy overreach that could strip away a crucial tool for smoking cessation, advocating for the enforcement of existing regulations as a potentially effective measure.
The survey also highlighted consumer preferences, with two-fifths of participants favouring fruit flavours and nearly 10% enjoying cola-flavoured vapes. Importantly, two-thirds of the respondents claimed that the diversity of flavour options played a pivotal role in helping them quit smoking and remain free from tobacco.
In response to criticisms that certain flavours may entice underage users, the UK’s prominent vape brands Elfbar and its sister brand Lost Mary have announced plans to discontinue dessert and soft drink flavours. Elfbar has already ceased production of Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy and Rainbow Candy flavours, with others expected to be phased out, and has renamed Gummy Bear to Gami.
An ITV Spokesperson reiterated that these changes are part of a concerted effort to diminish the appeal of these products to children while recognising the importance of flavours in assisting adult smokers and ex-smokers in their efforts to quit.
Despite this, Elfbar remains opposed to the proposal of introducing a new tax on vapes, which would be akin to the levies on tobacco products. They argue that such a tax could drive ex-smokers towards illicit vaping products or back to cigarette smoking.
Hazel Cheeseman from Action on Smoking and Health has criticised Elfbar’s approach, asserting that the brand’s recommendations and actions amount to insufficient half-measures that do not adequately safeguard children from the allure of vaping products.
The Independent British Vape Trade Association’s recent findings challenge the proposed vaping regulations, forewarning that additional levies could derail public health goals by promoting individuals to revert to smoking or seek unregulated products. The vaping industry continues to navigate the delicate balance between aiding and smoking cessation and preventing youth appeal.