Over the past year, it has been difficult to distinguish signal from noise, and for a vape supplier who is looking to provide the right products to the right customers, that has caused marketing and sales to shift in somewhat unexpected ways.
It is known that e-cigarettes are an effective way to help smokers quit and ensure ex-smokers stay off cigarettes for good.
There have been a lot of studies surrounding e-cigarettes and why it is twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches, particularly in conjunction with face-to-face support, in order to see what can change about vaping advice to help people stop smoking.
The most interesting answer to this came in a 2023 study first published in July that seemed to not be as big a part of the vaping conversation as it perhaps should have been, and came to a rather shocking conclusion about the roles of vape flavours in helping smokers to quit.
The study, organised by London South Bank University professor of nicotine and tobacco studies Lynne Dawkins, centred on the connection between different types of e-cigarette advice and quit rates.
This included text message support messages, a brief information package on how vaping is less harmful than smoking and three different sets of tailored advice concerning the best type of product, the right strength of nicotine or the flavour that a smoker would enjoy.
Over 1,200 participants recruited via social media were given either none of these types of advice, all of them, or a random selection. After three months they then had a follow-up to see if they had quit or reduced their smoking.
The results were somewhat surprising; the information package and advice on products or nicotine strength did not have an effect on quit rates, but people who received supportive messages and advice on choosing flavours were 55 per cent more likely to quit.
The rest of the advice did help, with 24.5 per cent quitting after three months and 13 per cent having at least cut their smoking by half.
What it demonstrates, however, is that providing support is about far more than technical advice. Whilst people need to know what product is right for them and what strength they need, support is often about reassurance that they are doing something amazing for their health.
As well as this, it is interesting that flavour is the aspect of the vaping experience most different to smoking, given that flavoured cigarettes have been banned for decades. The flavour adds something that is not a direct replacement or analogue to smoking and it can be convincing.
This study has a lot to teach vape sellers about the priorities for marketing. Whilst many vape shops do discuss flavours with customers, making it a priority when people try one for the first time can make a big impact and make the selling experience more personal.
As well as this, being supportive and mindful that ultimately vaping is about getting rid of an exceptionally powerful and destructive addiction can help provide the motivation to sell the right product to the right person.