Are Flavored Electronic Cigarettes Ads Being Targeted Toward Adolescents
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has estimated that about 26,000 children will start smoking on a daily basis. And, with the invention of electronic cigarettes, anti-smoking advocates think these kids will opt for them over conventional tobacco cigarettes.
Electronic Cigarettes: What Are They?
An electronic cigarette is a device that is battery-powered with a vaporizing liquid users inhale. E-cigarette users can choose from a variety of liquids that may or may not have any nicotine. E-cigarette flavors can include chocolate, bubblegum, cherry and even tobacco. It doesn’t emit smoke but vapor, which concerns scientists because there is no data about what affect this can have on a person’s health.
Survey and Report About E-Cigarette Use
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, kids are trying e-cigarettes out. A National Youth Tobacco Survey reveals one in 10 high school students have used them, doubled from 2011. It revealed that e-cigarette use in middle school kids is also on the rise.
University of North Texas Health Science Center Assistant Professor of Integrative Physiology Caroline Rickards said e-cigarettes have not had a long enough track record on the market to determine how safe the chemicals are. Rickards is in the process of studying e-cigarettes and its effect on the blood flow in the brain.
She said it’s true that e-cigarettes don’t have some of the chemicals that cause cancer in them. However, the research and product is still new, and there’s no information on what damage they can cause.
Rickards said there was a time many people saw conventional cigarettes as being healthy and safe. However, time has shown that this just is not true. Rickards said the same situation – level of study and investigation - should be applied to e-cigarettes.
Nathan Watkins, 20, uses electronic cigarettes, and isn’t concerned with the safety of the device. He said he has yet to see any negative effects – no coughs or being sick from them. Watkins said the amount he uses the device is half a pack of conventional cigarettes.
Watkins said he was attracted to the flavor, not the buzz content or nicotine. Some flavors he has used include:
E-Cigarette Ads Targeted At Adults and Children?
Many researchers, including Dr. Robert Jackler, are concerned about the variety of flavors. Jackler is a leading detective for the Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.
He said the flavors are designed to lure new smokers to the products; young people who are impressionable and want to try something new. However, Jackler said people are experimenting with a product that appears to taste like candy or other tasty item and not even realizing they are using a nicotine product.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration had forbidden companies for selling flavored cigarettes. As it stands, the FDA has not decided whether the agency should place regulations on e-cigarettes including the way they are marketed and are developed.
Jackler has looked at over 20,000 cigarette ads. He said he thinks that the kid-friendly flavors the companies use along with glamorization of teenage rebellion and freedom; similar to what traditional cigarette ads had before their regulation.
Jackler said the advertising of e-cigarettes is similar to the advertising of 1935. He said the e-cigarette industry’s advertising methods are related to getting people started on smoking.
According to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association, e-cigarettes are not targeted at minors. He said adults are being used in the ads and over 80 percent of users are 30 years of age or older and have smoked at least 10 years. The CDC, on the other hand, said 90 percent of the adult tobacco users began their habit as a kid.
Jackler said most people do not begin smoking when they reach adulthood. It’s a habit they tend to pick up around 10 or 11 and smoke because they want to appear as if they’re older.
Kyle Newton began smoking at 12 until he turned 18. Today, Newton, the CEO and president of SS Choice, LLC, uses electronic cigarettes. SS Choice, LCC is the creator of 7’s e-cigarettes. Although it’s only four years old, the Southlake-based electronic cigarette company has made around million so far this year.
Newton said the best way to look at e-cigarettes is to see them as a decrease in harm product until someone can say yay or nay to their safety. Newton’s company policy is not to produce kid-friendly flavors or to sell the product to minors.
Posh Vapors does create flavors that kids may be interested in but Watkins said the clientele shopping for the e-cigarette is in the 30 to 35 year old range, not the 18-year-olds. He said most people are looking for a product that will help them quit smoking for either their family or health problems.
Posh customer user Mike Nolan said he was able to quit his 40-year-old habit within a week of using e-cigarettes. Watkins said the product has also helped his parents kick the habit.
Nolan said he’s not concerned about the use of vaping e-cigarettes for life, and he hasn’t said if there would or would not be a vaping lifetime issue. Since e-cigarettes are so new, this is what has researchers so concerned.
Rickards said consumers need to know if there are or are not any risks.
Article Posted: 10/12/2013 01:00:01
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