A paper published by investigators at Virginia Commonwealth University in Tobacco Regulatory Science explored whether the effects of flavor access and product messaging of e-cigarettes is comparable to cigarettes. In a series of controlled studies, they found that e-cigarettes have lower abuse liability than cigarettes. Cherry flavor might increase abuse liability of e-cigarettes based on this highly controlled study, but menthol and tobacco flavors did not seem to increase abuse liability. Messaging suggesting reduced harm also can impact abuse liability of e-cigarettes. The studies are small and need to be replicated, but point to the need for additional research on the role of flavors and messaging in e-cigarette use.
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