Background In January 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration prohibited the sale of flavours (except for menthol and tobacco) in prefilled pod devices such as JUUL to decrease youth vaping. Excluded from the prohibition were disposable devices.
Objectives To determine the scope and scale of flavours marketed by Puff Bar, a leading disposable brand, and related products.
Methods Disposable e-cigarette flavours were identified via online searches encompassing vendor websites, wholesale distributors, manufacturers (eg, made-in-china.com), and social media channel, Instagram, between June and August 2020.
Results The ‘Puff’ brand name and iconic cloud logo appear on a variety of products of differing sizes and nicotine e-liquid volumes. Among Puff Bar and its copycats (Puff-a-Likes), 139 flavours were identified. Fruit flavours predominated comprising 82.2% of the flavour varieties (fruit 50%, fruit and menthol/mint 23.6%, and fruity drinks 8.6%). A prevalent new flavour category which combines fruit with menthol/mint (Ice) was offered in 33 varieties such as Lychee Ice, Lush Ice and Banana Ice. Disposable e-cigarette brands are undertaking measures to escape tobacco regulation (eg, non-tobacco-sourced nicotine) and flavour limitations via post-market flavour additions to unflavoured nicotine e-liquid.
Conclusions The proliferation of flavoured disposable e-cigarette products, many of which are designed to emulate popular pod devices, illustrates that narrowly limited flavour regulations covering only a single category are destined to fail. To be effective in youth protection, flavour regulations need to apply to all recreational nicotine-containing products and need to include measures to counter post-market flavour addition.
- advertising and promotion
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
- public policy
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.
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Contributors RKJ and DR conceptualised the study, designed the research and were principal authors of the manuscript. DR, CC, HYB, AMT, LY, VK, GS and RKJ all contributed to data collection and analysis and also approved the final version of the manuscript. RKJ is the guarantor of the article
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Competing interests RKJ serves as an expert witness in JUUL Labs litigation.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.