This is a point I’ve been making for weeks now. E-cig companies are making their ads almost identical to cigarette ads from 40 and 50 years ago, using sex and sophistication to sell their products.
Business Insider came up with a feature showing the amazing similarity between today’s e-cig ads and vintage cigarette ads. The problem with this? Tobacco companies are on record using sex, sophistication and even cartoon characters with the expressed purpose of marketing those cigarettes to teens (or, what the industry liked to call “new smokers.”)
It’s no secret e-cig use has been growing exponentially the last couple of years, and in particular, it’s becoming increasingly popular with kids. One of the reasons for the use of e-cig among kids is that until now, it’s been legal to sell e-cigs and e-cig products to kids, so it’s a lot less hassle for kids to get their hands on them than cigarettes (and ultimately much cheaper, too).
It wouldn’t be that big of a deal except e-cigs contain nicotine and as we all know, nicotine is one of the most physically addictive products on Earth, so the e-cig companies can act all innocent, but they know damn well kids are buying their product and their product will addict kids to nicotine.
Anyway, here is the gallery from Business Insider with these amazing comparisons.
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.
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.
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.
Got this from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. This is great! Really funny.
Mad magazine used to be famous for its fake ads (and some of them looked very real).
Here is a scathing ad from way back in 1965 just skewering Big Tobacco with a “Us Cigarette Makers Would Rather Fight than Quit” ad, mocking the old, long running Tareyton cigarette campaign of “I’d rather fight than switch.”
As a smoker smokes a dollar bill, the ad for “Carry On” reads:
“You think we’re going to let our billion-dollar industry go up in smoke? Sure those Gov’t reports linking cancer and smoking gave us a black eye! But just you wait! Our own scientists and public relations men are hard at work and we’ll be fighting back pretty soon!”
The ad concludes: “Coming Soon! Self serving reports to help the tobacco industry. Higher sales through statistical double talk.”
Wow, that is REALLY ahead of its time. I guess Mad magazine had no desire for any cigarette advertising.