Teens Drawn to Online E-Cigarette Ads
You might think that young people are the ones who get exposed to online ads more than most. And you might assume that their youth makes them more susceptible to the ploys of advertising.
And you’d be right! (Yes, we tried to trick you a little there.)
At least you’d be right as far as e-cigarettes are concerned. This teen generation of digital natives sees most of its advertising by way of online devices.
The big U.S. tobacco companies are all developing e-cigarettes, and (being astute businesspeople) are targeting online ads. Their battery-powered gadgets feature a glowing tip and a heating element that turns liquid nicotine and other flavorings into a cloud of vapor that users inhale.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from a nationwide survey of about 22,000 middle school and high school students, roughly 12 to 18 years old.
Middle school kids who routinely viewed e-cigarette ads online were almost 3 times more likely to use the devices than their peers who never saw ads. High schoolers who frequently watched online ads were about twice as likely to use them.
About 3 million middle and high school students said they were current users of e-cigarettes in a CDC survey last year, up from about 2.5 million in 2014. Even more troubling, adolescents who try e-cigarettes may be more than twice as likely to move onto smoking conventional cigarettes than teens who have never tried the devices, according to previously conducted studies.