Effects of Electronic Cigarette E-Liquid Flavouring on Cigarette Craving

Maddy Dyer*, Jasmine N Khouja, Abigail Jackson, Michelle Havill, Martin Dockrell, Marcus R Munafo, Angela S Attwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Background E-liquid flavour restrictions may discourage electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) uptake among youth. However, possible unintended consequences may include reduced appeal and effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. Non-tobacco flavours appear to be important for smoking cessation, but how and why are currently unclear.

Methods We conducted an experimental study in a UK sample of adult daily smokers using an independent groups design (N=84). Participants were randomised to use an e-cigarette with nicotine-containing fruit/sweet-flavoured e-liquid (blackcurrant, strawberry, vanilla, caramel) or unflavoured e-liquid for 1 week. The primary outcomes were average, peak and cue-elicited cigarette craving (the latter was assessed using a cue exposure task). The secondary outcomes were smoking lapse occurrence, enjoyment of the e-cigarette, ease of transitioning from smoking to using an e-cigarette, intentions to continue using an e-cigarette, intentions and motivation to quit smoking, return to smoking, and continuation of e-cigarette use.

Results E-liquid flavouring did not appear to have an effect on average cigarette craving (b 0.18, 95% CI −0.44 to 0.79, p=0.57), peak cigarette craving (b −0.12, 95% CI −0.59 to 0.35, p=0.62) or cue-elicited cigarette craving (b −0.21, 95% CI −3.86 to 3.43, p=0.91). We did not find evidence of a difference in secondary outcomes.

Conclusions We did not find evidence to suggest that nicotine-containing fruit/sweet-flavoured and unflavoured e-liquids have different effects on cigarette cravings after 1 week of use. Further research is needed to establish if differences emerge over longer periods of exposure and extend to smoking cessation outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalTobacco Control
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Electronic Cigarette E-Liquid Flavouring on Cigarette Craving'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this