Tobacco addiction and appetite – what will the future of electronic cigarettes look like

The story of e-cigarettes originated from the philosophy of a Chinese pharmacist who was troubled by smoking addiction.

In 2003, Han Li, the “father of electronic cigarettes”, was saddened by his father’s death from lung cancer, and decided to quit “the source of evil” cigarettes.

For old smokers who suffer from constipation without cigarettes, smoking is to obtain nicotine, and the second is to satisfy a habit of “pick up”, “puff” and “exhale”. In an era when nicotine patches, nicotine gum and other substitutes are constantly being invented, nicotine is easy to quit, but the habit is hard to quit.

The same is true for Han Li. After trying the nicotine patch for a short time, he was deeply tasteless and determined to create a product that can not only satisfy the intake of nicotine, but also “smoke clouds”. A device for heating and evaporating nicotine liquid came into being.

Therefore, since the birth of electronic cigarettes, it was born to quit cigarettes. But its original intention seems to have gradually changed under the impetus of the consumer market.

At present, in the e-cigarette stores on the streets and alleys, various fruit, beverages, tea-flavored atomized bombs are emerging one after another, and there are even some slightly strange flavors such as beer and stinky tofu.

If you don’t enter the store with the purpose of “replenishing rations”, the clerk will often take out the trial cigarette sticks on the counter with peeling paint, and then take out the disposable mouthpiece and deliver it to the customer, so that they can fully experience various flavors .

“Mango and lemon tea are the best sellers. You can try it.” “For girls, you can try this rose flavor. The ladies like it very much.” “The mint flavor is very cool. With 5% nicotine content, two puffs can relieve addiction.”

The above-mentioned dazzling tastes and words for different customer groups constitute the appearance of the current offline stores of electronic cigarettes.

Among the many flavors, it is the non-tobacco flavor that can really prop up store sales. According to a survey by an industry media, the sales of non-tobacco flavored products in e-cigarette stores often account for more than 90%, while tobacco flavors are ranked out of the dozens.

Although practitioners often still describe e-cigarettes as “reducing harm to cigarettes”, most people have to admit that the greatest attraction of e-cigarettes to the outside world is the various flavors that are easy to smoke.

Looking at the atomized bomb products of the top brands, “Summer Green Mansions”, “Banana Milkshake”, “Peach Oolong”, “Ice Stuffed Lychee”, “attractive” text, with well-designed packaging, always Writing the word “delicious” into the minds of consumers.

Within the e-cigarette industry and among players, discussions often revolve around the term “reduction”. The so-called reduction degree is the degree of fidelity to the taste of the atomized liquid during the suction process. In the recruitment market, the salary of senior atomizing liquid oil dispensers often starts from 10,000 yuan.

An atomizing bomb with a strawberry flavor, if it can extract the sweetness of strawberry pulp and the freshness of strawberry leaves, and then restore the smell of strawberry at the olfactory level, it can be regarded as a superior product by e-cigarette enthusiasts.

Not only that, but in the slightly niche electronic cigarette DIY circle, players try to match the values ​​of power and resistance, and test the tuning between different atomizers and atomizing liquids, in order to feel it during the three-second puffing process. To the full release of the top, middle and bottom notes of the atomized liquid. It seems metaphysical, but it is relished by players.

A certain industry media once created a concept of “taste addiction”, that is, human beings are born with a preference for sweet, cool and other tastes, and most of the rich flavors of electronic cigarettes are based on sweet and cool flavors. As a result, a significant number of non-heavy smokers smoke not nicotine, but flavors.

The preferences of the consumer market will naturally not be ignored by major e-cigarette brands. To this end, brands are constantly innovating, updating the flavor array, and even tying the flavors of atomized bombs to marketing.

Taking the leading brand Magic Flute as an example, in the midsummer of last year, Magic Flute launched the flavor of “Icy Strawberry”, with the main “cool feeling”; in autumn, when the sweet-scented osmanthus is in full bloom, Magic Flute launched “Osmanthus Tea Fragrance”, and once again put new products on the same season. link on.

When the market context changed from “smoking addiction” to “taste”, e-cigarettes, which were given the heavy responsibility of replacing cigarettes, seemed to have become a tool to satisfy appetite, and e-cigarettes were therefore “sugar coated”.

Remove the sugar coating, is that bad news?
Jiang Man, a self-proclaimed e-cigarette player, is a young man who has recently graduated from cigarettes. He is not a heavy smoker after transitioning from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. It turned out that he only smoked two or three cigarettes a day, but now he smokes out one atomizing bomb every day.

“Cigarettes have a sense of guilt, so they are generally only smoked when they are relieved. E-cigarettes are easy to smoke, and the guilt is not so strong. When playing games, one puff after another, and unconsciously fainted.”

The above phenomenon is more common among young people, and the American Tobacco Control Organization has also identified flavored e-cigarettes as the main culprit for minors’ exposure to e-cigarettes and addiction.

That is to say, if users follow the logic of “taste addiction” to use electronic cigarettes, it is easy to lead to overuse, and even from “non-heavy smokers” to “heavy electronic smokers”. This is obviously contrary to the global environment of “reducing the smoking population”.

On the other hand, the rich taste of electronic cigarettes also has safety problems.

Briefly, at present, the mainstream e-cigarette liquid is mainly composed of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring agents. The first two are used as “substrates”, designed to dissolve nicotine and flavoring agents, and generate smoke to stimulate the throat, together with nicotine to provide the so-called “throat feeling”; nicotine focuses on “relieving addiction”; and flavoring agents are responsible for providing taste .

Compared with the more than 5,000 chemical substances produced by the high-temperature combustion of traditional tobacco, the components of electronic cigarettes are relatively single, which is also the theoretical basis for “reducing harm to cigarettes”. But in fact, compared with fixed materials such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, it is difficult to verify whether the inhalation of different flavors has a negative impact on the human body from an academic level.

In 2015, the internationally renowned brand Backgammon was criticized by public opinion for its nebulized liquid was found to contain the ingredient “diacetyl” that can cause human respiratory diseases. In the US market at that time, about 8,000 flavors were added to the atomized liquid, and it was difficult to identify them one by one.

The US FDA issued a policy two years ago to remove all flavored e-cigarette products and only allow tobacco and menthol flavors to circulate in the market.

If the country has previously released a new national standard consultation draft for electronic cigarettes, there are still 122 kinds of additives such as coffee cocoa extract, citral, etc. left for the industry, then the “Second Consultation Draft of Electronic Cigarettes” on the taste of electronic cigarettes Restrictions, more like a tailgating to the FDA’s “flavor ban.”

The draft also pointed out: “Atomizers should contain nicotine.” If this “atomizer” refers to all atomization devices, the recently launched “herbal atomization” and “0 nicotine” in the industry will also be cut off. In addition, for the DIY group that has been free from supervision, abandoned and independent, the opinion draft explicitly prohibits the sale of open-ended, including oil-filled large smoke and small equipment.

This also means that the logic of “taste addiction” will completely disappear, and the “sugar coating” of electronic cigarettes will eventually be removed. After all, in the e-cigarette industry, the so-called opinion draft is almost as effective as the norm.

“Every brand tries to imitate the taste of real cigarettes, but it’s actually like nuts or coffee, which is not easy to smoke.” An old smoker said. It can also be seen from the pessimism generally expressed in the industry that e-cigarettes without rich flavor blessings are likely to experience a decline in the demand side.

The question is whether this slide is good or bad.

For the industry and stores, the sudden drop in the attractiveness of electronic cigarettes is obviously bad news, but turning the perspective to the whole society and even all mankind, the electronic cigarettes born of “reducing the harm of cigarettes” have been in the gray area for more than ten years. Standardization regains its original intention, which is undoubtedly a good news.

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