Very upsetting study by the Centers for Disease Control which speaks to the absolute biggest problem I have with e-cigarettes — how they are marketed.
The e-cigarette industry has been just downright brazen and blatant about marketing their products to teenagers. E-cig ads today employ all of the exact same techniques used by the cigarette industry for decades to entice teen smokers — sexy, suave, sophisticated people using their products, cartoon characters (even Santa Clause) and ads featuring women’s panties. Women’s panties? … I mean, seriously, you just don’t get more blatant than that.
Anyway, the CDC survey found that 7 out of 10 middle school and high school students had seen these e-cig ads, which are all over the place, magazines, mini-marts, billboards, etc. Tom Friedman, head of the CDC, makes this exact point:
“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes. I hope all can agree that kids should not use e-cigarettes.”
It’s no secret that teen use of vaping products has absolutely exploded in the past three or four years. More than triple the number of kids vaped in 2014 than in 2013 and studies show that more teenagers vape today than smoke cigarettes.
This simply isn’t a good thing on so many levels. Kids are still turning into nicotine addicts, which is bad no matter what the delivery system of that nicotine is. And studies show that a higher percentage of kids who start out vaping eventually turn to cigarettes to get their nicotine fix than kids who never vape.
So, what’s to be done. The Food and Drug Administration is mulling proposals for regulating e-cigarettes. One of the common-sense proposals by the FDA is to ban the sale of e-cig products to teens (most states already ban this, but it is not banned on a federal level … AND e-cig products can be easily purchased by kids online).
The CDC recommends that e-cigs can only be bought in “face to face” transactions, and that online transactions be banned. The FDA did not propose banning online e-cig sales in its draft regulations, but it’s been working on finalizing those regulations for nearly a couple of years now. The FDA also didn’t consider any curbs on e-cigarette advertising in its draft regulations, something that caused a major hue and cry from anti-tobacco advocates.