As the popularity of e-cigarettes among Canadian teens surged, advertisements in stores and on TV contributed to their popularity – and now need to be regulated – according to researchers from the University of Texas, reports CBC News.
In a study published on Monday 26 August in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers found that children aged 12 to 17 who reported remembering e-cigarette marketing in stores, such as on signs, were nearly twice as likely to start vaping within two and a half years.
The researchers also followed 2,288 youths (aged 12 to 17) and 2,423 young adults (aged 18 to 29) who said they’d never vaped.
Among young adults who recalled both in-store and TV ads, the likelihood they would take up vaping increased by 30% for both forms of marketing, lead author Alexandra Loukas and her team found. In the analysis, Loukas accounted for factors such as having friends who vaped and a tendency toward “sensation-seeking”.
Advertising “might not be the most important predictor, but it does seem to be a factor,” Loukas, a professor in the department of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin told HealthDay News.
Loukas said unregulated marketing of e-cigarette devices contribute to their popularity, especially among young adults.
In both Canada and the US, tobacco advertising is banned. The rules for e-cigarettes are looser. In Canada, for example, e-cigarette makers are allowed to say the products are tasty and show exploding pictures of cherries, mango and other fruit.
Health Canada has said it intends to introduce new measures to curb the rising number of young people who vape, such as a proposal for more ad restrictions, a new public education campaign, and limits on the display of vaping products in certain retail locations.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Marketing and Initiation Among Youth and Young Adults
Alexandra Loukas, Ellen M Paddock, Xiaoyin Li, Melissa B. Harrell, Keryn E Pasch and Cheryl L Perry
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have become the most popular tobacco products among young people, yet ENDS marketing remains unregulated, and its effects on ENDS use behavior across age groups is poorly understood. In this study, using a longitudinal design, we examined how recall of ENDS marketing through 5 different channels predicted subsequent ENDS initiation up to 2.5 years later among youth (ages 12–17 years) and young adults (ages 18–29 years).
Data were drawn from 2 large cohort studies in Texas. The analysis included school-going youth (n = 2288) and college-going young adults (n = 2423) who reported never having used ENDS at baseline in 2014. Logistic regression was used to assess the influence of recalled ENDS marketing exposure via television (TV), radio or Internet radio, billboards, retail stores, and the Internet on subsequent ENDS initiation, with adjustment for these channels, baseline sociodemographics, other past-30-day tobacco use, sensation seeking, and peer ENDS use.
Recall of retail store–based ENDS marketing at baseline was associated with significantly higher odds of subsequent ENDS initiation among youth (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.99; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25–3.17) and young adults (aOR = 1.30; 95% CI: 1.05–1.61) up to 2.5 years later. Young adult initiation was also associated with recalled ENDS marketing on TV at baseline (aOR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.03–1.63).
Marketing of ENDS at retail stores predicts youth and young adult ENDS initiation, and marketing on TV predicts young adult initiation. Future research and regulation should be used to address the most influential marketing channels.