Adverts for candy-like flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage vaping amongst school children

E-cig_fimageIn a study published on the 18th January in Tobacco Control, we show that advertisements featuring e-cigarettes with flavours such as chocolate and bubble gum are more likely to attract school children to buy and try e-cigarettes than those featuring non-flavoured e-cigarettes.

We assigned 598 school children (aged 11-16) to one of three groups: one group was shown adverts for candy-like flavoured e-cigarettes; a second group was shown adverts for non-flavoured e-cigarettes; and a third (the control group) weren’t shown any adverts (see image for a graphical presentation of the randomisation and examples of the adverts used in the study).

The children shown the ads for candy-flavoured e-cigarettes liked these ads more and expressed a greater interest in buying and trying e-cigarettes than their peers. However, showing the ads made no significant difference to the overall appeal of tobacco smoking or of using e-cigarettes – in other words, how attractive, fun or cool they considered the activities. These results support the imminent changes in EU regulations surrounding the marketing of e-cigarettes, but raise questions about the need for further regulation regarding the content of e-cigarette products that appeal to children. More research is needed to examine both the short- and long-term impacts of e-cigarette advertising on children.
Impact of advertisements promoting candy-like flavoured e-cigarettes on appeal of tobacco smoking amongst children: an experimental study. Vasiljevic, M, Petrescu, DC, Marteau, TM.

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