Those who do not see electronic cigarettes as a promising intervention for smoking cessation and instead have raised several warnings about the products appear to be acquiring new findings for their advocacy push. The latest information focuses on advertising, as a study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics suggests that adolescents and young adults have increasingly become exposed to product pushes for the electronic nicotine delivery devices.
Following closely on the heels of a research review that found little evidence of e-cigarettes' effectiveness in helping smokers quit, the latest study reported increased exposure to televised e-cigarette advertising between 2011 and 2013 for adolescents ages 12 to 17 (up 256%) and young adults ages 18 to 24 (up 321%). Most of these TV ads were viewed on popular cable networks such VH1, Comedy Central and Country Music Television, and the brand blu eCigs (owned by tobacco giant Lorillard) represented the lion's share of the advertising viewed by youths.
“It's hard to argue that only adults are seeing these ads,” Jennifer Duke, a public health researcher at RTI International and lead author of the study, said in a USA Today article. She warned of the consequences of an absence of “counter messages by the public health community” in response to the present advertising campaigns of e-cigarette companies.
This study also comes at a time when proposed federal regulations on the sale of e-cigarettes are being vetted by national organizations and the general public. The rule that is under consideration does not address e-cigarette advertising.
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