As more rules are being studied to be applied to the electronic cigarette selling to minors, there is alarming news wherein television advertisements being shown for the devices have gone up. These ads were largely shown on programs where young adults, minors and adolescents generally watch.
According to the Pediatrics with the online study they did, e-cigarette ads have dramatically increased between 2011 and 2013 by 256% and that is among minors aged 12 to 17. What is more disturbing is that an increase of 321% was noted on young adults aged 18 to 24.
The e-cigarette TV ads were shown on popular cable networks and were seen by approximately 76% of the said age groups. The ads have even appeared on programs under broadcast network which belong to the 100 highest rated shows or programs for the youth for the TV season in 2012-2013.
A popular e-cigarette brand, blu which is manufactured by the tobacco company Lorillard has a major exposure with 82% e-cigarette ads which were viewed by minors, aged 12 to 17.
According to Jennifer Duke, who is a public health researcher at RTI International and the lead author of the thorough study, that both the tobacco and e-cigarette industries were not targeting their ads to the young people. They are advertising their products on TV which is the broadest and most accessible media in the country.
Duke added that with the 24million television audience viewers with the 12 to 17 age range, e-cigarette exposure is increased as this is what is shown during regular programs. They cannot deny that these ads were only seen by the adults.
Meanwhile, television advertisements for tobacco cigarettes were banned since 1971. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a ban on selling of tobacco products which are unregulated which includes e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars and the likes of hookahs. The agency is also requiring appearance on every pack warning labels, the disclosure on its ingredients and approval from the federal government. However, the rule does not apply to advertising and marketing strategies done by the tobacco companies.
According to blu eCigs statement, Lorillard have limited their ads on where and when it can be marketed so as to not to target the minors who are watching. They have also stressed that their marketing position is ensured to run on television which targets 85% of adult viewers.
Duke also noted that with the study which analyzed television audience measurement data done by Nielsen, it did not screen the commercials or choose the audience which the ads intend to target. They only focus on the ones that have exposure to these ads.
With these results on studies done, Duke says it is still alarming as the ads are unregulated and these can be seen by both adults and minors alike. Plus, the public health community is not doing any counter measures to stop or to regulate the ads from being shown on TV.
The FDA does not have solid information on the effects of using e-cigarettes but laboratory findings with several samples shown traces of toxic chemicals and carcinogens like diethylene glycol which is used as antifreeze.