Tag Archives: e-cigarette marketing

More bad news about teens and e-cigs — e-cig use among kids tripled from 2013 to 2014


Man, this is frustrating news. Teen smoking down, of course, but down for the wrong reason — because a LOT more kids than ever are now “vaping” instead.


A recent Centers for Disease Control survey shows that the use of e-cigs has tripled in just one year among teens (from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent).  More kids are using e-cigs today than cigarettes (9.2 percent).


This is such a “good news, bad news” scenario. The good news is the rate of teen smoking is at its lowest level ever record — 9.2 percent. However, the bad news is, e-cigs still contain nicotine and are still turning teens into nicotine addicts. Nicotine all by itself is bad for your blood pressure.


I get that e-cigs don’t appear to be as deadly as cigarettes and that they might help some people quit cigarettes, but kids are using them as an out-and-out substitute for cigarettes is not good news. And it really torques me when e-cig companies employ the same ad techniques used by tobacco to make e-cigs looks sexy and suave.

From a Washington Post article:

The use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has eclipsed the use of traditional cigarettes and all other tobacco products, a development that Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called “alarming” and “shocking.”

“What’s most surprising is how in­cred­ibly rapid the use of products other than cigarettes has increased,” Frieden said in an interview, adding that some e-cigarette smokers would undoubtedly go on to use traditional cigarettes. “It is subjecting another generation of our children to an addictive substance.”

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed rules to ban the sales of e-cigs to minors (this rules have been in the “proposed” stage for over a year, but took a completely hands-off approach to a number of other problems with e-cigs, including fairly blatant e-cig marketing to teenagers and surgary flavourings designed to make e-cigs more palatable to teens.

e-cig ad
Sexy e-cig ad


On the surface, that might seems like good news, given the hundreds of thousands of Americans that still die from smoking each year. And it might be. “The drop in cigarette use is historic, with enormous public health significance,” said Matt Myers, with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. But, he was quick to add, “the explosion of e-cigarette use among kids means these products are being taken up in record numbers with totally unknown long-term consequences that could potentially undermine all the progress we’ve made.”

American Heart Association issues warnings about e-cigs, need for stricter regulation


Oh, very interesting. The American Heart Association (not some rabble-rousing anti-smoking group — the AHA), this week came out with a very strongly worded position paper on e-cigarettes.

Specifically, the AHA expressed the need for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigs. The FDA proposed some regulations on e-cigs a few months ago, and is still taking public comment on those regs.

NBC story. (Emphasizing that e-cigs should only be used as a “last resort” to quit.

USA TODAY story.

To wit, the AHA brings up three main concerns about e-cigs:

  •  They target young people
  • They keep people hooked on nicotine
  • They threaten to “re-normalize” tobacco use, according to the American Heart Association’s first policy statement on these products.

I really appreciate what the AHA is saying because while in a lot of ways I am on the fence about e-cigs (If they legitimately help people quit smoking, and some people swear they do, more power to them), BUT the major issue I have with e-cigs is the way they are being marketed, and in some cases, downright blatantly so, to kids.

From the AHA statement:

“Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical no matter what form it takes – conventional cigarettes or some other tobacco product,” said American Heart Association President Elliott Antman, M.D. “Every life that has been lost to tobacco addiction could have been prevented. We must protect future generations from any potential smokescreens in the tobacco product landscape that will cause us to lose precious ground in the fight to make our nation 100 percent tobacco-free.

Manufacturers present e-cigarettes as “cool and sexy and acceptable, which is a problem because you’re increasing addiction,” Bhatnagar said.

Exactly, the point is, e-cigs are being marketed as cool and sexy and acceptable, but in fact, they contain nicotine. So while they might help some smokers (emphasis on “some”) quit, they are keeping those smokers addicted to nicotine, which has its own health issues (such as increasing blood pressure, etc.). And worse yet, if kids use them because Blu ads make them look hip and cool, then they’re being turned into nicotine addicts to begin with — not by cigarettes, but by e-cigs.

The AHA agrees:

The FDA’s proposal fell short of what was hoped for by the AHA and other public health advocates. They believe e-cigarettes should be regulated under the same laws as other tobacco products and prohibited from being marketed or sold to young people. The proposal, they said, did not go far enough in limiting online sales, advertising and flavored products, all tactics used to make e-cigarettes appealing to young people.

I personally don’t get that worked up about the flavoured e-cigs, but I completely agree with the AHA about the marketing issue. The FDA in its original proposal declined to address e-cig marketing (possibly because the agency is concerned about being sued over the First Amendment), but did ban e-cig sales to minors. That’s a start, I suppose.