In recent years, a variety of novel flavors have appeared in e-cigarettes on the international market – chocolate popcorn flavor, cinnamon sundae flavor, pineapple coconut flavor, vanilla rum flavor, daffodil ice cream flavor, curry chicken flavor, bubble Milk tea flavor or even salty licorice flavor. Many flavored e-cigarettes are briefly popular and then withdraw from the market, like a flash in the pan. Various newly introduced regulations and bans have made the e-cigarette market situation increasingly complex.
Mainly fruity, with a variety of flavors coexisting
Nowadays, some specially flavored e-cigarettes still exist, but more classic flavors such as fruity flavors dominate most of the market. The British NGPTrends website is a professional website reporting news on new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. Alan Byrne Carter, general manager of NGPTrends, said: “Fruit-flavored e-cigarettes have always been popular. In the past few years, fruit-flavored e-cigarettes have gone from single fruit flavors of cherry or grape to more unique mixed fruit flavors. The same is true for mint-flavored e-cigarettes, which have evolved into more sophisticated flavors and are often combined with fruity flavors, such as Green Ice Mint and Strawberry Mint.”
In Europe, especially Western Europe, demand for traditional tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes appears to be declining. Carter attributed this to the fact that “e-cigarette consumers have quit smoking and do not want to relapse.” Another important reason may be that e-cigarettes lack real tobacco flavor. Almost all e-cigarette liquids cannot faithfully restore tobacco taste, because e-cigarettes do not burn real tobacco, but only heat and evaporate the liquid soaked in tobacco aroma. However, Carter noted that tobacco flavors have not completely disappeared from the e-cigarette world. For example, the British e-cigarette brand PodSalt recently launched the Origins series of products, which includes 6 tobacco flavors.
Consumers and regulations determine market trends
The development trend of e-cigarette flavors is inseparable from the preferences of consumers everywhere. Flavors that are popular in North America may not be popular in the Middle East. Moreover, each region has its own regulations governing which flavors are allowed and which are not.
Some European countries have already implemented bans on certain flavored e-cigarettes, such as restrictions on e-cigarette products containing sugar or sweeteners, and sooner or later these restrictions will be expanded to the entire EU. This will affect the development trend of e-cigarettes and is likely to make tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, which are currently declining in the Western European market, popular again.
This is already happening in the United States. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires e-cigarette companies to focus on tobacco flavors. “We hope there will be a wider variety of tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes in the U.S. market,” Carter said.
Canada, the neighbor of the United States, does not have such strict regulations on e-cigarettes, so it often becomes a place for testing and promotion of new flavors of e-cigarettes, which is not possible in the United States. Carter revealed: “Philip Morris International has recently tested some new products in Canada. We expect Philip Morris International to launch an upgraded version of VEEV e-cigarette equipment, VEEVONE, in Canada, which includes flavors such as mango, blueberry, strawberry, apple and watermelon.”
Flavor and fragrance companies launch various new flavors
To explore e-cigarette flavor trends, you can observe the latest trends in flavor and fragrance companies.
The German Hertz Flavors and Fragrances Company was founded in 1931 and is well-known in the tobacco industry. The company counts Europe and the United States as key markets, while also expanding its operations in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia.
Today, Hertz Flavors and Fragrances is no longer just a supplier of flavors and fragrances for traditional cigarettes. The company has begun to establish its own e-liquid product system.
At the InterTabac show in 2022, the German company launched a series of new flavors of e-liquid, such as rock candy, white coffee, lemon cheesecake, coconut caramel and banana cookie. Vivien Wenzel, e-cigarette flavor sales manager for Hertz Flavors and Fragrances, said customers are very interested in the products.
At InterTabac 2023, the company launched another series of products. Although fruit-flavored e-cigarettes currently dominate the market, there appears to be growing demand for more complex and exotic e-cigarette flavors.
Wenzel pointed out: “The momentum of disposable e-cigarettes seems to be slowly waning, and e-cigarettes that can be filled with e-liquid are gradually emerging. This may lead to a resurgence of complex flavor products. Market conditions vary in each region , only by being familiar with local flavors of candies, fruits, beverages and desserts can we create fragrances that resonate with consumers.”
Like Carter, Wenzel also mentioned that some EU countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, have banned flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavors.
Wenzel said: “Although there have been calls for an EU-wide ban, this has not yet happened. We are all anxiously awaiting EUTPD3 (the third version of the EU Tobacco Products Directive Regulatory Framework), which will impose restrictions on the sale of electronic products that are allowed to be sold. The ingredients of e-liquids are regulated. Young people always follow trends and like to try new things. If something they want is banned, they may like it more.”
Eastern European consumers prefer sweet taste
Bimar Project, a company located in Minsk, Belarus, was established in 2012 and currently focuses on selling e-cigarette products in the Eastern European market.
Andre Zavalli, co-founder of Bimar Project, said that currently the most popular e-cigarette flavors in the Eastern European market are bubble gum, blueberry, cola, grape, iced banana, etc. “We are seeing a clear trend that sweetness is becoming more and more important among all e-cigarette flavors, and the previously best-selling mint flavor has now dropped to second or even third place,” he said.
Zavalli predicts that e-cigarettes with exotic flavors and multiple compound flavors will become popular in the Eastern European market in 2024, a trend that has already begun to appear this year. Additionally, he has noticed a growing interest in candy flavors among Eastern European consumers.
Although classic tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes are popular in the U.S. market, they have been left out in the Eastern European market. Zavali pointed out: “In the Eastern European market, sales of single-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes have obviously begun to decline, replaced by fruit-flavored e-cigarettes. Young people are the main consumers of e-cigarettes. Most of them do not like the taste of cigarettes, but like the taste of cigarettes. Pursue more innovative aromas.” In Russia and Belarus, e-cigarette products currently do not need to pay consumption tax, but Zavali believes that taxation is only a matter of time. He predicts that e-cigarette sales will grow further in Eastern Europe.