A new CDC reports says about 7 in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, and in popular media.
Data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey show 68.9 percent of middle and high school students see e-cigarettes ads from one or more media sources. This number has prompted much concern among the CDC. “Advertising of tobacco products has been shown to cause youth to start using those products,” said the organization in a statement. “E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence, rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products.”
Officials are worried the unrestricted marketing of e-cigarettes and dramatic increases in their use by youth could reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among the younger generation. Spending on e-cigarette advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to an estimated $115 million in 2014. The results show, as in 2014, e-cigarettes became the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes. During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent.
The CDC suggest strategies to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes, including limiting tobacco product sales to facilities that never admit youth and restricting the number of stores that sell tobacco, and how close they can be to schools. The organization also suggests that e-cigarettes should be sold only through face-to-face transactions, not on the Internet, and require age verification to make purchases, and accept deliveries of e-cigarettes