Regulation of E- Cigarette Social Marketing



           Vaping is the newest fad amongst adolescents and is further glamorized by its use by popular celebrities. While proponents market e-cigarettes with the potential benefit of being bereft of tar and smoke-related side effects, serving as a bridge to quitting, and more environmentally friendly, they have been responsible for increasing usage rates among school kids in the US. The CDC found experimentation and recent use of e-cigarettes doubled among middle and high school students from 2011-2012 with an average of 1.78mn students. Data regarding pulmonary, cardiac and carcinogenic side effects are still obscure; however there has been a definite increase in nicotine overdose.

           On August 6, 2014, Senate Democrats urged the FDA to impose stricter regulations on the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes. The Legacy study found e-cigarette companies spent $59.3mn/year in marketing in 2013, an increase of 150-350% over one year. Most were TV and radio ads during major sports games, music shows, awards and celebrity shows with an audience comprising of approximately 35% teenagers and college-age students. A study by Research Triangle Institute International revealed an increase of e-cigarette marketing directed toward school and high school kids by up to 300% in the last 2 years.

            There are many who defend the measures used to advertise and market e-cigarettes such as e-cigarette companies, tobacco retailers, ad merchants and the binding groups such as Smoke Free Alternatives Trades Association by claiming to direct ads mainly towards adults and providing young adolescents with safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives when compared to cigarettes. The parallel increase in rates of marketing and vaping among school-age children, however, clearly indicates that an immediate action by the FDA regarding the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes must be enforced as was done with regular cigarettes through the 2009 Family Smoking and Tobacco Control Act.


3 Responses to “Regulation of E- Cigarette Social Marketing”

  1. elizabethchung2014 Says:

    This is a very interesting topic since e-cigarettes are clearly becoming more popular with smokers who consider it as an alternative for smoking cessation and those interested in experimenting with smoking. As relatively new, as the blog concedes, the data is still very obscure. However, the harm of nicotine overdose is noted and clearly increased with the e-cigarettes. Continued blogging as well as participating in other forms of advocacy to create awareness of the overdose in larger numbers of school-age children vaping will be helpful in bringing this issue to light.

  2. edmundkeane Says:

    Thanks for posting! E-cigs are presenting a unique case of an explosively popular trend (due in no small part to the addictive properties of nicotine) presenting legitimate growth potential as a product on the open market. Personally, I feel that this type of event repeats itself in different formats historically. Unfortunately, with data about its effects being so obscure, this allows many people (including children) to expose themselves to effects unknowingly. What’s interesting to me about this type of scenario is that there is no burden placed on individuals or companies producing these products to research their effects. Instead, that burden typically falls on the medical research community after the products have become popular.

    A number of ongoing studies are looking at the short and long-term effects of the type of vegetable sugar used in e-cig fluid. One study found a number of known carcinogens in the e-cigs being focused on: “…cancer-causing compounds in some e-cigarette cartridges, including diethylene glycol—a toxic chemical used in antifreeze.” (

    In conclusion, it’s very unfortunate that in most countries it is legal to push products that are not fully understood. When it comes to addictive and hazardous chemicals (like nicotine), I see nothing redeeming about companies who feel it is ethical to target children with marketing strategies.

  3. sawsanjabri Says:

    Interesting topic of a large profitable industry with no regulation. From reading, it seems very critical to regulate E-cigaret by FDA mandatory rules, due to increase selling rate among middle and high school students. And with no strong scientific researches to depend on, there should be a given time to conduct the needed research and investigation.
    I found that American Academy of Family Health did sign a letter, recently, sent by two dozen health care organizations to the FDA urging the agency to extend its jurisdiction over all nicotine-delivery devices.
    As mentioned in the article, the letter crafted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids addresses the FDA’s proposed tobacco deeming rule. In which they also emphasize the importance of regulation e-cigaret in order to prevent the tobacco products from designing and marketing products not regulated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

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