Role of sweet and other flavours in liking and disliking of electronic cigarettes.

TitleRole of sweet and other flavours in liking and disliking of electronic cigarettes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKim H
Secondary AuthorsLim J, Brinkman MC
Tertiary AuthorsBuehler SS, Johnson NM, Wilson L, Cross KS, Clark PI
JournalTobacco Control


To examine the extent to which the perception of sweet and other flavours is associated with liking and disliking of flavoured electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

31 participants (13 females/18 males; 12 sole/19 dual users) vaped 6 commercially available flavours of blu Tanks: Classic Tobacco (CT), Magnificent Menthol (MM), Cherry Crush (CC), Vivid Vanilla (VV), Piña Colada (PC) and Peach Schnapps (PS); all 'medium' strength, 12 mg/mL nicotine concentration. For each flavoured e-cigarette, participants first rated liking/disliking on the Labeled Hedonic Scale, followed by perceived intensities of sweetness, coolness, bitterness, harshness and specific flavour on the generalised version of the Labeled Magnitude Scale. The psychophysical testing was conducted individually in an environmental chamber.

PC was perceived as sweetest and liked the most; CT was perceived as least sweet and liked the least. Across all flavours, liking was correlated with sweetness (r=0.31), coolness (r=0.25), bitterness (r=-0.25) and harshness (r=-0.29, all p<0.001). Specifically, liking was positively correlated with sweetness of PS (r=0.56, p=0.001) and PC (r=0.36, p=0.048); and with coolness of MM, CT and VV (r=0.41-0.52, p<0.05). In contrast, harshness was negatively correlated with liking for CC, PC and PS (r=0.37-0.40, p<0.05). In a multivariate model, sweetness had the greatest positive impact on liking followed by coolness; harshness had the greatest negative impact on liking.

Our findings indicate that bitterness and harshness, most likely from nicotine, have negative impacts on the liking of e-cigarettes, but the addition of flavourants that elicit sweetness or coolness generally improves liking. The results suggest that flavours play an important role in e-cigarette preference and most likely use.