Tag Archives: e-cigarettes

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.

 

FDA will ban e-cigarette sales to minors

These 13-year-olds legally bought their e-cigs (OK, they're from the UK, but you get the point)
These 13-year-olds legally bought their e-cigs (OK, they’re from the UK, but you get the point). No more e-cig sales to minors in the U.S.

Well, this came a lot faster than I expected. I expected the announcement next week.

As fully expected, the Food and Drug Administration today announced that it intends to ban the sales of e-cigarettes to minors. The sales ban is part of a series of e-cigarette regulations proposed by the FDA. The regulations will be finalized after a 75-day comment period, but I expect few changes.

Here is one story from NBC and here is another. Here is a CNN story.

Here’s the upshot of the new regulations.

The big one. No more e-cig sales to minors under the age of 18. This is really important. Because e-cigs have been completely unregulated, “vaping” has become more and more popular with kids, because frankly, it’s a lot less hassle for kids to get their hands on a e-cigs rather than cigarettes. According to the CDC, the percentage of kids under 18 using e-cigs double from around 5 percent in 2011 to around 10 percent in 2012. That’s alarming. I’m guessing that number is approaching 20 percent today.

While e-cigs may not be as toxic as cigarettes, they still contain nicotine, which is incredibly addictive, so c-cigs, when used by kids as a substitute for cigarettes, are addicting kids to nicotine. E-cigs might be fine for someone trying to quit smoking, but not for some 16-year-old to use instead of tobacco.

Other new regulations are no more free samples, a ban on vending machine sales in any business open to minors, a mandated disclosure of all ingredients in e-cigs and a mandated warning label that nicotine is physically addictive.

The one disappointment to me is there are no proposed restrictions on e-cigarette advertising. I think the advertising has been fairly out of control similar to what was going on with cigarettes 30 years ago. E-cigs are being made to look cool and sexy to kids, and there have even been e-cigs ads using women’s panties and Santa Claus.

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids issued  a statement with understandably mixed sentiments, taking the FDA to task for taking so long to develop these regs (three years) and urging them to address marketing to kids in the future. However, CTFK is pleased that there is a ban for sales to kids.

However, I also acknowledge that restrictions on advertising may have run into some First Amendment issues. Perhaps the FDA didn’t want to deal with the headaches of First Amendment lawsuits. The FDA CAN enforce advertising restrictions for tobacco products because the tobacco companies agreed to those restrictions in the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. In that agreement, Big Tobacco agreed to not use cartoon characters (like Joe Camel … or Santa Claus, etc.) to promote its products. I honestly do not know how much power they have to restrict marketing of e-cigs.

Anyway, like I said, the big one is ending the sales of e-cigs to minors. That crap had to be cracked down on. We don’t need a new generation of nicotine addicts being created, no matter what the delivery system. The other big fear I have with e-cigs being sold to kids, and I wonder how often this has happened, is kids getting the bright idea to directly use the liquid nicotine that comes in vials along with the e-cigs. Seriously, I could just see 13- and 14-year-olds trying that. That liquid nicotine in its concentrated form is highly poisonous and powerful.

 

 

FDA to issue regulations on e-cigarettes sometime next week

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NBC News image

I feel lately like I am writing more articles on e-cigs than cigarettes lately, but most of the articles I’ve seen on tobacco-related issues have been about e-cigs during the past six months. I’d hate for the Lounge to become a site about e-cigs rather than tobacco (especially since WordPress assumed that I was advertising e-cigs on my blog.).

Anyway, hopefuly the frenzy of coverage over e-cigs will die down a bit later this year as the Food and Drug Administration will be issuing regulations over the sales and marketing of e-cigs. The FDA, which has been taking its time working on these rules, ultimately has control over e-cigs because the FDA was given control several years ago to nicotine — the main ingredient of e-cigs.

I think two issues are paramount here 1) Ban e-cig sales to minors and 2) Control e-cig advertising the same way tobacco advertising is controlled. These are the two biggest problems I see with e-cigs … that in most states, it is legal for kids to buy them and use them, and e-cig companies have been downright brazen in marketing e-cigs to kids. (And the FDA can control e-cig advertising because of the nicotine. I know it sounds like a First Amendment issue, but this issue has already been settled with tobacco products.)

Maybe e-cigs serve some purpose in helping some people quit cigarettes, but, unfortunately, “vaping” has also become hip and cool for teenagers; one of the reasons why is because kids can legally buy and use e-cigs, but it’s a bigger hassle for them to get their hands on cigarettes. That stuff needs to be cracked down on, because kids are still becoming addicted to nicotine, it’s just a different nicotine delivery system then cigarettes or chew.

Anyway, I will be waiting for the news next week when the FDA makes its announcement and hopefully comes up with some common-sense rules for these issues.

 

Congressional report on ecigarettes focuses on marketing to kids

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This might be the beginning of the end for the wild and woolly world of ecig advertising.

Sen. Dick Durbin, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, California Rep. Henry Waxman, three of the biggest anti-tobacco do-gooders in Congress wrote the report about how ecig advertising is being directed at kids the same way tobacco advertising was directed at kids 30 years ago.

In the words of the AP story:

While the Food and Drug Administration plans to set marketing and product regulations for electronic cigarettes in the near future, for now, almost anything goes.

This is absolutely true: Almost anything goes. You have ecig billboards with Santa Claus; ads in Sports Illustrated with ecigs advertised on women’s bikini bottoms.

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In addition to marketing, the congressional report also talks about sugary flavours for ecigs, lack of warning labels and no age restrictions for their use. (That seems easy to me, no nicotine products at all for people under 18).

The FDA moves glacially slow. In 2011, the agency said it was going to regulated ecigs (but the agency has done virtually nothing yet. As an aside, the FDA was put in charge of nicotine five or six years ago and has done little but ban candy-flavoured cigarettes and Indian cigarettes). Supposedly, the proposed FDA regulations over ecig advertising were submitted in October of last year.

“I can’t understand why the FDA is taking this long,” Durbin said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It is clear that the longer they wait, the more young people will be addicted.”

While ecigs might be effective in helping some people quit smoking, there’s absolutely no reason for kids to be using them as a substitute for cigarettes, and it appears with some of the advertising that that is the intent. Ecigs give off steam and nicotine. Nicotine is still incredibly addictive, even if it comes from an ecig, and it’s still a drug with plenty of side effects. No reason to get kids started on it, period. I’m all for people quitting via ecigs, but this marketing crap needs to be cracked down on. I would like to see the FDA act yesterday, and it looks like several people in Congress would, too.

Confirmed: Poisonings from liquid nicotine up dramatically — Centers for Disease Control

p0403-e-cigarette-poisonThis is a follow-up to a post from a few weeks ago and confirms the point some articles were making about increasing poisonings from nicotine juice for e-cigs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control latest Mortality and Morbidity report (man, I used to read these things religiously), the rate of reported nicotine poisonings rose from 1 per month in September 2010 to a whopping 215 per month in February 2014. Whoa!

More than half of these poison centre calls involved children under the age of 5.

According to the CDC release:

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes – the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue.  E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

“The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarette use is growing fast, and now this report shows e-cigarette related poisonings are also increasing rapidly,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.  “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”

I’ve said this in the past, I’m on the fence about e-cigs: If they genuinely help some people quit smoking, I’m all for that. But, buy a clue about how toxic that liquid nicotine can be for your e-cigs. Jesus, if you have kids and are using e-cigs, keep those liquid nicotine containers locked up and out of kids’ reach.

Liquid nicotine … 1,300 poisonings in 2013 and growing; one teaspoon can kill a kid

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Saw this article splattered all over the Internet today. Scary.

Liquid nicotine, completely unregulated by the way, is one of the main ingredients of e-cigarettes. It’s extremely potent and dangerous in its concentrated liquid form and can kill kids if they get their hands on it and start drinking it. The New York Times, and USA Today  had articles on this today.

There were more than 1,300 reported poisonings from liquid nicotine in 2013, according to the New York Times, a 300 percent increase from 2012. That number is expected to double in 2014. The vast majority of these involved children 4 and under. (Interestingly, one of these poisonings involved an e-cig that broke while a woman was asleep and she absorbed the nicotine concentrate through her skin. Man, that is some powerful stuff.)

Again, an incredibly, potent, powerful drug … and completely unregulated at the moment.

“It’s the wild, wild west right now,” said Chip Paul, chief executive officer of Palm Beach Vapors, a company based in Tulsa, Okla., that operates 13 e-cigarette franchises nationwide and plans to open 50 more this year. “Everybody fears F.D.A. regulation, but honestly, we kind of welcome some kind of rules and regulations around this liquid.”

 

 

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach ban e-cigs indoors

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I think you’re going to see more and more of this, and I’m becoming more and more OK with it.

The cities of L.A., San Francisco and Long Beach last week all banned e-cigarette use indoors — that means mostly bars and restaurants and workplaces.

Now, e-cigs put out a vapour that has virtually no smell, and it does not irritate your eyes and nose like cigarette smoke. However, it is laced with nicotine, and people are not comfortable being in a room with nicotine-laced steam floating in the room.

It was apparently a very heated debate in L.A. as the city council heard impassioned pleas from e-cig users not to ban them.

According to the LA. Times:

“We have a right to … choose to breathe clean air,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez told her colleagues. “And if this device turns out to be safe, then we can always undo the ordinance. But if this device proves not to be safe, we cannot undo the harm this will create on the public health.”

and the other side of the argument:

Councilman Joe Buscaino led an unsuccessful attempt to exempt bars and nightclubs from the ban, a measure sought by lobbyists for the e-cigarette industry. He too invoked a family member while making his arguments.

E-cigarettes “are not tobacco,” he said. “I don’t think they should be regulated exactly the same way. And I’ve heard from so many people, including my cousin Anthony, that they’ve stopped smoking from the help of e-cigarettes.”

I guess I feel like if e-cigs have helped you quit smoking real cigarettes, then that somehow being banned from smoking them in bars or restaurants really isn’t going to change anything for you. More power to you if they’ve genuinely helped you quit smoking. You can continue not smoking cigarettes in spite of this ban.

Meanwhile, in nearby Long Beach, a similar ban was passed, and then San Francisco banned them indoors just yesterday. San Francisco is also requiring a special licence to sell e-cigs.

These major California cities join Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago as cities banning e-cigs indoors. Again, a growing trend. People are just not comfortable breathing that steam despite the lack of odour.

 

Sen. Chuck Shumer calls for ban on e-cigarette advertising to minors

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This is interesting … and becoming a bigger and bigger thorn with e-cigs — e-cigarette advertising.

(thanks to Haruko for this link)

Sen. Chuck Shumer, D-N.Y., has called on the Federal Trade Commission to ban e-cig advertising to minors. Currently, unlike cigarettes, there are NO advertising guidelines in place for e-cigs and it shows with ads like billboards showing Santa Claus using an e-cig.

I agree with Shumer. E-cig advertising is out of control and needs to be regulated. Remember, e-cigs contain nicotine, an FDA-regulated drug.

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One of the very good things that came out of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement is that cigarette companies can no longer market to teens — all cartoon based cigarette advertising was banned and all product placements of cigarettes in films were banned.

However, since e-cigs are not cigarettes, that ban doesn’t apply to e-cigs (even though a lot of e-cigs are now owned by tobacco companies, as Lorillard owns Blu E-cigs).

I’ve been pretty open about being on the fence about e-cigs. They are not as toxic as cigarettes and they might help some people quit smoking — though I’ve heard mixed anecdotes about how the effectiveness of e-cigs as a smoking cessation tool.

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However, I am VERY concerned about what I have seen with e-cig advertising so far — they are being marketed EXACTLY the same way cigarettes have always been marketed. Made to look cool, suave, sophisticated, etc., and there is no doubt in my mind that some e-cig ads have been directed at teens. (I’ve posted some examples here.).

 

Europe to regulate e-cigarettes; FDA next?

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This came from an editorial from the New York Times supporting ecig regulation.

The European Parliament last week (honestly didn’t realize there was such a thing, but it’s the governing body of the European Union, apparently)  voted to regulated e-cigarettes, perhaps laying the groundwork for the FDA in the U.S. to someday regulate these things (yes, they appear to be wholly unregulated at this point).

In Europe, the advertising of ecigs will now be banned, and the amount of nicotine limited in the cartridges. I think I’ve mentioned repeatedly one of my concerns about ecigs is the way they are being marketed — sexy, suave, alluring — just the way cigarettes have been advertised (to teens) for many, many years.

Part of the big debate about ecigs was whether to classify them as a medicine or a tobacco product. Are they a medicine because they help some people quit like nicotine gum or patches, or a tobacco product, because they’re simply a nicotine delivery system that some people use when they’re in places they’re not allowed to smoke. It’s a good question. In the end, the European Parliament made some compromises, but ultimate will regulate ecigs as a tobacco product.

Some members of Parliament expect ecig companies to sue over the regulations.

“This was a very bad agreement,” said Martin Callanan, a British Conservative Party politician who said he opposed e-cigarette regulation on the ground that the products help people stop smoking. “It’s a massive loss for public health in Europe.”

Mr. Callanan, who backed most of Wednesday’s tobacco law reforms, said the details on e-cigarettes were “still very murky” and added, “I’m sure a lot of this will end up in the courts.”

I agree that advertising of ecigs needs to be reeled in. The use of ecigs is growing among teens because a) it’s cheaper than cigarettes, and I’m afraid b) those ecig ads are making it look cool, just like cigarettes.

The problem with this, is that while ecigs are not as toxic as cigarettes, they still contain nicotine, and are just as addictive as cigarettes. Ecigs might be effective for some people to quit smoking (maybe, the jury is out on this, I’ve heard and read anecdotes to support both sides), but they are not a good idea as a “substitute” for cigarettes, especially for kids. They are still getting addicted to nicotine and still inhaling toxic substances.

 

A really kind of despicable ad from Blu e-cigs

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From the category of “Are you kidding me???”

Blu e-cigs (owned by Lorillard tobacco) is pulling out all the stops lately using the same ad techniques cigarette companies used.

I try to stay on the fence on e-cigs, because they might help some people quit smoking, but when I see ads like this, I feel less and less inclined to defend them. They’re stealing the 1960s tobacco industry playbook. One of the biggest problems I have with e-cigs, and one of the reasons I don’t fully trust them or their manufacturers, is they keep relying on advertising trying to make their product look sexy and dangerous.

This ad appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. It’s not even remotely subtle, fairly blatantly using sex to try and sell their products. I would find it funny, but teenaged use of Blu e-cigarettes has more than doubled, according to the CDC. Hey, get kids those kids addicted to nicotine early. You want to get into a girl’s panties? Look sexy by using e-cigs.

Bad move, Blu. Too blatant. Too … creepy. It’s this kind of advertising that is going to help get e-cigs regulated.