Legacy puts out scathing report on e-cigarette marketing to kids

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Good. Apply the pressure to the FDA to crack down on e-cigarette advertising aimed at teens.

The Legacy Project put out a no-nonsense report this week taking the e-cigarette industry to task for pretty blatantly marketing e-cigs to kids.

I will quote from Legacy directly here:

Key findings include:

Use and Awareness among Teens and Young Adults:

  • Results indicate that awareness of e-cigarettes among young people is nearly ubiquitous, ranging from 89% for those ages 13-17 to 94% for young adults ages 18-21.
  • In addition to this extremely high awareness of e-cigarettes, ever-use (whether a product has ever been tried) among these age groups is also high, with 14% of those ages 13-17 and 39% of those ages 18-21 reporting having used e-cigarettes.
  • Results show that, among the major advertising channels, youth awareness of e-cigarette advertisements is highest at retail sites, with 60% of teens ages 13-17 and 69% of young adults ages 18-21 saying they always, most of the time, or some of the time see e-cigarette advertising at convenience stores, supermarkets, or gas stations.

Industry Advertising:

  • Overall, e-cigarette advertisers spent $39 million from June through November 2013, with magazine and national TV accounting for more than three-quarters of dollars spent.
    • Magazines made up the majority of the ad dollars spent ($23 million; 58%)
    • National TV ads were second, accounting for 19% of spending at $7.4 million.
  • From June through November 2013, the blu, NJOY and FIN brands put the most money towards advertising, accounting for 86% of the overall category spend.
    • Far and away, blu spent the most money on paid e-cigarette advertising during this time, accounting for 56% of all e-cigarette ad spending—more than all other brands combined.

Just two weeks ago (April 14), key Senate and House leaders released a similar report concluding that e-cigarette companies are aggressively promoting their products to young people – much like tobacco companies have in the past. The report surveyed nine e-cigarette companies and found that:

  • Many companies are promoting their products through sponsorship of youth-oriented events, and some companies are offering free samples of e-cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes are available for purchase in stores and online by children and teenagers.
  • Surveyed e-cigarette companies extensively utilize social media and product websites to promote their products.
  • E-cigarette product warning labels lack uniformity and may confuse or mislead consumers.

These two complementary reports on e-cigarettes demonstrate that many of the tactics that have long-been banned or restricted by both the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement and the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act are now being utilized to market these emerging products to youth. Legacy’s report adds to the data Congress has already collected – showing that e-cigarette companies are aggressively promoting these products and reaching our nation’s young people.

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Pretty damning. I really hope the FDA reels in the e-cig industry. I don’t have a problem with e-cigs, but I’ve grown increasingly turned off with their advertising techniques and how they are obviously trying to make e-cigs look hip and sexy (rather than promoting them as a smoking cessation product.). The biggest problem with e-cigs is they do contain nicotine and nicotine is incredibly physically addictive. Physical addiction is not sexy or cool. It’s one thing if someone uses e-cigs to quit smoking, it’s quite another if a 16-year-old starts using them because they seem cool.

Legacy is a group formed as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement and is the group behind those “Truth” TV ads you have probably seen over the years.

 

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