E-Cig Marketing Reaches High Proportion of Teens

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By Martina Barash

Jan. 6 — Nearly 70 percent of middle- and high-school students in the U.S.—18.3 million students—saw advertisements for electronic cigarettes in 2014, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.

The new report puts numbers to youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing from several sources—retail stores, the Internet, television and the movies, and newspapers and magazines. Such exposure “might contribute to increased use of e-cigarettes among youths,” the report said, citing previous studies.

Most participants said they saw e-cigarette advertising in more than one of the four categories of sources, according to the study in the CDC's Jan. 5 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

About half the participants (52.8 percent of middle-schoolers and 56.3 percent of high-school students) were exposed to e-cigarette advertising or promotions in retail outlets, such as convenience stores, supermarkets and gas stations. About one-third saw e-cigarette marketing in each of the other three source categories—the Internet, television or the movies, and print media, the report said.

There was some variation among demographic groups, but “the magnitude of exposure was consistent across groups,” the authors said.

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration found a rise in e-cigarette and hookah use among youth in an April 2015 study (43 PSLR 508, 4/20/15).

Federal Regulation?

The new CDC report recommends “a multifaceted approach to youth tobacco prevention.” The recommended preventive measures include requirements to ensure the products are sold only to adults, as well as federal or state regulation of e-cigarette advertising.

The Federal Trade Commission in October proposed a study of e-cigarette sales and marketing, which has drawn public comment from e-cigarette makers, tobacco-control advocates and others (see related story). The study could be a precursor to FTC rulemaking.

The CDC report, “Vital Signs: Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Advertising Among Middle School and High School Students—United States, 2014,” analyzed responses to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey used a nationally representative sample of about 22,000 participants, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina S. Barash in Washington at mbarash@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Julie A. Steinberg at jsteinberg@bna.com

For More Information 
The report is available at http://src.bna.com/bSW.