Electronic Cigarette Use among U.S. Students Doubles
NBC has reported on the release of government research that shows e-cigarette use among teens is climbing at an alarming rate. Experts worry that students who use e-cigarettes may develop a nicotine addiction leading to heightened use of traditional cigarettes as well.
Electronic Cigarettes Rapid Rise in Popularity
- Government agencies and health advocates are expressing conern as statistics show that popularity of electronic cigarettes among high school and middle school students has double over the past year.
- Though normally marketed as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have taken to reminding consumers that there are no studies to support these claims.
- On the contrary, the FDA has found that some electronic cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals inluding irritants, animal carcinogens, nitrosamines and genotoxins which damage DNA.
- The FDA also notes that 76.3 percent of regular e-cigarette users also smoke conventional cigarettes, raising concern that teens initially exposed to nicotine addiction through electronic cigarettes will likely begin using conventional tobacco products as well.
- The CDC states that cigarettes are the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the U.S. killing 443,000 people every year. 49,400 of these deaths are tied to second hand smoke.
Electonic Cigarette Companies Evoking Big Tobacco Marketing Tactics
“With flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, e-cigarettes are very clearly being made and marketed in ways that appeal to children” – Paul Billings, American Lung Association as published by NBC News.
- It is not particularly surprising to find that e-cigarette brands are using similar methods found in old big tobacco marketing tactics. After all, some are owned by big tobacco companies.
- Using celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Stephen Dorff in their television commercials, e-cigarette brand Blu (recently acquired by Lorillard, the third largest tobacco company in the U.S.) has given big tobacco a way back into an advertising medium that they have been banned from for 40 years.
- The Daily Finance reports that Blu’s website even features a Joe Camel-like cartoon character called “Mr. Cool” who readily provides consumers with the “benefits” of e-cigarettes and offers a reward system similar to Camel Points.
- According to NBC, opponents of e-cigarettes worry that younger consumers are being drawn in through the marketing of flavors such as mint, bubblegum, cotton candy and strawberry which Senator Richard Blumenthal claims shows the “clear intent of creating a new generation of smokers.”
- As health advocates and lawmakers scramble to regulate the advertising and marketing of electronic cigarettes, it appears the damage may already be done. According to a Wells Fargo Securities tobacco industry analyst, Americans are projected to spend $1.7 billion on e-cigarettes this year alone.
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