UNC Experts Call for More Action from FDA on E-Cigarette Flavors

UNC School of Medicine professor and prominent tobacco researcher, Dr. Adam Goldstein, suggests the effect of e-cigarette flavors on youth tobacco product use is so great, the FDA should consider banning the sale of flavors.


  • newswise-fullscreen UNC Experts Call for More Action from FDA on E-Cigarette Flavors

    Credit: UNC School of Medicine

    Dr. Adam Goldstein

Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO, C.A. – 2/22/19 – New research released by UNC School of Medicine’s Dr. Adam Goldstein shows how effective e-cigarette flavors are in drawing young people to start using e-cigarettes.

According to new statistics released by the CDC, 4.9 million youth in the U.S. use tobacco products. There were 1.5 million more middle school and high school students using e-cigarettes in 2018 than 2017.

Presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) in San Francisco, CA, Goldstein’s updated systematic review of existing e-cigarette research points to e-cigarette flavors being a primary reason for e-cigarette use for youth and adults alike. Because of this, Goldstein is recommending the FDA consider banning flavors in e-cigarettes to reduce youth e-cigarette use.

“E-cigarette use is a major public health issue, especially among adolescents and teenagers,” said Goldstein, director of UNC Tobacco Intervention Programs and professor of family medicine.

This new research expands evidence from a systematic review published in 2016 on non-menthol flavors in tobacco products and their impact on tobacco use perceptions and behaviors among youth, young adults and adults. Goldstein says there was such an increase in e-cigarette-specific research on flavors in the past two years, they updated the previous review to include the new studies. Altogether, four databases were systematically searched for studies published and indexed through March 2018, resulting in 51 e-cigarette-specific articles that were included in the new review.

This is the first systematic review to specifically examine e-cigarette research on flavors, looking at the effect flavors appear to have on initiation, use, risk and cessation of e-cigarettes in youth, young adults and adults.

“The review shows that e-cigarette flavors appear to motivate e-cigarette and smoking initiation among youth. The use of flavored e-cigarettes present a dangerous gateway to nicotine addiction for youth, and we know nicotine is particularly harmful to adolescent brain development.”

If you’d like to speak to Dr. Goldstein about this topic contact Carleigh Gabryel at 919-864-0580 or Carleigh.Gabryel@unchealth.unc.edu.

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