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Young adults’ preference for characterising versus concept e-cigarette flavours: an exploration of industry flavour renaming tactics
  1. Ying Zhang,
  2. Lauren Czaplicki,
  3. Meghan Moran
  1. Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Meghan Moran, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA; mmoran22{at}

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Characterising e-cigarette flavours (eg, blue raspberry) have a clear flavour name, are associated with youth vaping initiation,1 and are often subject to federal, state and local regulation in the USA.2 In contrast, non-characterising or concept flavours use ambiguous naming conventions (eg, unicorn snot) and may be more difficult to regulate.3 4 In August 2020, the vape company, BIDI Stick, renamed its vape flavours to ‘ensure that the products aren’t appealing to the youth’, which included renaming several characterising flavour names with concept flavour names.5 Because the extent to which the new names appeal to young people is unclear,5 6 we explored differences in preference for the original characterising flavours versus the new concept flavours.


In 2021, we conducted a national survey on tobacco marketing, with a convenience sample of 1816 young adults, ages 18–24 (mean=21 years, SD=1.9), 36.3% male and 52.2% non-Hispanic (NH) white, from an online Qualtrics panel (see online supplemental table 1 for sample details). We aimed to …

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  • Contributors MM conceptualised the study. YZ, MM and LC conducted data analysis. YZ wrote the first draft of the paper. MM and LC revised the paper and provided guidance on the analysis and initial write-up. All coauthors reviewed the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by an Innovation in Regulatory Science Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (Grant number 1020004).

  • Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.