E-cigarette ads reach nearly 7 in 10 middle and high-school students
January 6, 2016 - 12:01 AM
About 7 in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million
young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, in
newspapers and magazines, or on television and in movies, according to a
new CDC Vital Signs report.
E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence,
rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes and other conventional
tobacco products. Advertising of tobacco products has been shown to
cause youth to start using those products. The unrestricted marketing of
e-cigarettes and dramatic increases in their use by youth could reverse
decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among youth.
“The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to
get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new
generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC Director Tom
Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “I hope all can agree that kids should not use
Data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show 68.9
percent of middle and high school students see e-cigarettes ads from one
or more media sources. More youth see e-cigarette ads in retail stores
(54.8 percent) than online (39.8 percent), in TV/movies (36.5 percent),
or in newspapers and magazines (30.4 percent).
E-cigarettes typically deliver nicotine, which at a young age may
cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to
sustained tobacco use. In 2014, e-cigarettes became the most commonly
used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes.
During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students
soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school
students from 1.6 percent to 3.9 percent. Spending on e-cigarette
advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to an estimated $115 million
Strategies to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes could include:
Limiting tobacco product sales to facilities that never admit youth,
Restricting the number of stores that sell tobacco and how close they can be to schools,
Requiring that e-cigarettes be sold only through face-to-face transactions, not on the Internet, and
Requiring age verification to enter e-cigarette vendor’s websites, make purchases, and accept deliveries of e-cigarettes.
“States and communities can also help reduce youth tobacco use by
funding tobacco prevention and control programs that address the
diversity of tobacco products available on the market, including
e-cigarettes,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of CDC’s
Office on Smoking and Health. “We know what works to effectively reduce
youth tobacco use. If we were to fully invest in these proven
strategies, we could significantly reduce the staggering toll that
tobacco takes on our families and communities.”
Other key findings in the Vital Signs report show that:
More than half of high school students (8.3 million) saw e-cigarette
ads in retail stores, and more than 6 million saw them on the Internet.
More than half of middle school students (6 million) saw
e-cigarettes ads in retail stores, and more than 4 million saw them on
About 15 percent of all students (4.1 million) saw e-cigarette ads
from all four sources: retail stores, the Internet, TV/movies, and
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the
manufacture, marketing, and sale of certain tobacco products. FDA has
announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes and other currently
unregulated tobacco products as part of this Act. The rulemaking is
currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget.
Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity andMortality Weekly Report.
The report provides the latest data and information on key health
indicators. These include cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor
vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol
use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen
pregnancy, food safety, and viral hepatitis.
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