More outrage against flavour bans as traditional industries are threatened

The trend towards ever tighter restrictions on flavoured e-liquids may prevent under-age vaping, but it also risks killing off traditional industries around the world and even threatens rare species, according to an international group of suppliers.

The Farming, Agriculture & Flavours Federation (FAFF) represents small producers in more than 30 countries, spokesperson Pesce d’Aprile said at a news conference today (1st April) where several of the producers spoke via video link.

Among them was Graham Craquer from the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, who grows fruit salad on his smallholding and ships 90% of his production to the e-liquid sector. Craquer is one of only a handful of fruit salad farmers remaining in business; a century ago the long, low lines of bushes that stretch across his farm would have been familiar sights around Britain, their multi-coloured and variously shaped fruits providing a staple dessert, but its popularity has declined and now e-liquid is their main use.

“If flavoured vapes disappear, it will probably be the end for the rich tradition of fruit salad cultivation too,” said Craquer. What little fruit salad is still sold as food is simulated by combining fruits from different plants – “not the same thing at all, a pale imitation”, he said.


Bear-sniffing dogs do what they can to help


Similar concerns were expressed by Aprillip Aivä, a Finnish entrepreneur who maintains over 1,000 acres near Uusikaupunki for traditional gummy bear foraging. Specially trained mastiffs sniff out the tiny “bears”, which are in fact fungi that appear for only a few days each year around the beginning of April, their spores lying dormant for the rest of the year beneath leaves on the forest floor.

The tiny amount that can be harvested annually per acre and the high cost of maintaining the dogs (which must be fed on a special diet rich in vegetable glycerin and blueberry menthol) year-round mean that gummy bear foraging is viewed as uneconomical by most agribusinesses. Aivä, however, is committed to keeping this traditional practice of the Finnish countryside alive.

The pinch is being felt beyond Europe, too, and in more modern sectors of the economy.

For example, mining operations at the Big Rock Candy Mountain near Shortfill Creek, Colorado, have almost ceased in the last two years. The company that owns the mine, BRCM Corp., was one of the largest suppliers of sweet and candy flavours to the e-liquid sector, and many vapers came to see its cheerful cartoon mascot on e-liquid packaging as an indicator of quality.

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    And Elon Musk has reportedly cancelled an unmanned space expedition that would have started collection of moon dust in 2025.


    Children are protected, leaving ‘the real victims in all this’ 


    Perhaps the saddest story, though, comes from Brazil, where Diadas Mentiras sees flavour bans imperilling not just his business, but his lifelong endeavour to rescue one of the world’s rarest mammals.

    The common unicorn had been hunted almost to extinction by the mid-20th century, and for many decades only tiny herds (known as “prances”) remained, driven by deforestation into smaller and smaller pockets of land. Then, with the arrival of the e-cigarette, a market for unicorn milk meant that at last there was a commercial basis for breeding the animals and ensuring their long-term future.

    Now, however, Mentiras fears he may have to slaughter his entire prance if unicorn-related e-liquids are prohibited in major markets. He has investigated rehoming the animals, he says, but few people are willing to take them on as pets – partly because of their glittery, purple excreta and also because they can be considerably more aggressive than their reputation suggests, particularly if they sense that young princesses are in danger.

    Meanwhile, zoos Mentiras has contacted simply don’t take him seriously.

    “People talk fine talk about protecting public health, but these magnificent, innocent creatures are the real victims in all this,” he said, referring to measures such as the UK’s ban on flavours believed to appeal to youth.

    “Will nobody think of the unicorns?”

    – Hiram Schnauzer ECigIntelligence farming correspondent

    Photo: Paul Bill

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    This article was written by one of ECigIntelligence’s international correspondents. We currently employ more than 40 reporters around the world to cover individual vaping markets. For a full list, please see our Who We Are page.

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