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Yale Study: High Schoolers Who Vape Prefer Flavors That Produce Cooling Sensation

September 01, 2021

More than half of Connecticut high schoolers who currently vape chose flavors that produce a cooling sensation in the mouth and throat. These flavors may be associated with using nicotine and vaping more frequently, according to a new study by Yale researchers.

Using 2019 survey data, the researchers assessed use of e-cigarette flavors that produced cooling sensations by high schoolers who had vaped within the past 30 days. Approximately half of high schoolers, or 51.6 percent, reported vaping cooling flavors, according to the study, published September 1, 2021, in PLOS ONE.

Vaping these cooling flavors has been associated with vaping more frequently and vaping e-cigarettes that contain nicotine, according to the researchers. They said assessing the sensory experience, such as cooling in addition to flavor types youth use may more fully capture e-cigarette flavor use and the impact on youth e-cigarette use behaviors.

Although menthol and mint are commonly associated with producing cooling sensations, many new e-cigarette flavors on the market now combine sweet flavors like dessert and fruit with cooling flavors. These flavors are often marketed as “ice” flavors by e-cigarette manufactures and may be especially appealing to youth.

“We see that ingredients that produce a cooling sensory experience are added now to many e-cigarette flavors, like fruit and dessert flavors," said Danielle Davis, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry and the paper's lead author. "Given ingredients that produce a cooling sensation have been shown to reduce the harshness and irritation associated with nicotine, flavors that have a cooling component may make nicotine easier to inhale and lead to heavier use in youth. It is important we are assessing cooling sensory experience specifically to examine its association with youth e-cigarette use and behavior.”

Other study contributors from Yale include Meghan E. Morean, PhD; Krysten W. Bold, PhD; Deepa Camenga, MD; Grace Kong, PhD; Asti Jackson, PhD; Patricia Simon, PhD; and Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on September 01, 2021