The University of Louisville Receives $3.6 Million Grant to Study Vape Flavours

Researchers from the University of Louisville (UofL) have received a $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to study the effects of flavours used in vaping products.

The aim of the research is understanding the short-and long-term impacts of these chemicals specifically on the heart. “E-cigarettes are still relatively new, and we don’t yet fully understand what their health effects are,” said Alex Carll, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and co-lead on the project. “Understanding this could help us make better purchasing and regulatory decisions.”

Associate professor of medicine and co-study author Matthew Nystoriak, said that the fact that some of these flavours taste like food gives the illusion that they are harmless. “Our goal is to understand how individual flavoring chemicals impact the heart,” said Nystoriak. “There are many flavor chemicals used in e-cigarettes and if we know which are potentially more harmful than others, it’s possible for people to make more informed decisions about which products they use.”

The possible repercussions of vape flavour bans
Meanwhile, the Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is once again reminding policymakers that banning vape flavours has unintended consequences as it pushes former smokers who had successfully switched to vaping back to smoking.

A recent letter to Ontario’s health minister Jean-Yves Duclos, urged him to amend the current vape regulations to restrict the number of flavours allowed. However, warns the CVA, such restrictions would have negative repercussions such as increased smoking rates and an expansion of the blackmarket.

The association highlighted that studies keep showing that adults who switched from smoking to vaping non-tobacco flavours were more likely to be successful at smoking cessation than those who vaped tobacco flavours.

Renowned smoking cessation expert and cardiologist Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos has also recently explained the importance of flavours. “It is clear that flavoured nicotine vaping products are instrumental in aiding adult smokers in their quest to quit smoking cigarettes. In my view, legislators should seriously take this into account, especially when they start considering the regulation of flavour in ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems),” he said.

While Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board, said that even if they worked, further restrictions are not even necessary. “Ontario has restricted flavoured vape products to adult-only environments. Flavours cannot be sold in any establishment that youth have access. Strong regulation is already in place to protect young people, further regulation isn’t needed. Instead, Belleville should concentrate its efforts on increasing municipal enforcement.”