As the money spent on e-cig advertising skyrockets, the effects on youth are still unknown. Researchers in the Netherlands have found that the use of e-cigs by youth has grown, along with a solid increase in advertising revenue. In fact, many researchers believe that e-cig advertising may be positive, as it discourages youth from using traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration still has not released their findings on whether e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes however marketers have been touting that fact for years.
What is clear is that youth are smoking e-cigarettes significantly more than traditional cigarettes. Some say that e-cig marketers appeal to youth with sweet fruity and candy flavors. The CDC claims that 70 percent of youth have seen e-cig advertisements, however again, there is no indication that effects sales. E-cig advertisement revenue has gone from a mere 6.4 million dollars in 2011 to a massive 115 million dollars in 2014. The CDC reported that within a 30 day period, 7 percent of youth smoked traditional cigarettes while 13 percent smoked e-cigs or vaporizers.
It seems that the studies have left the tobacco and the anti-tobacco industries at a stalemate. Both parties stand, like soldiers on a battlefield, awaiting the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for e-cigarettes that is due out any day. In the meantime, youth continue to smoke e-cigs at an increasing rate. No matter the results of the Food and Drug Administration study, however, it seems clear that both sides are eager to taste blood.
In the midst of all this haziness and contradiction, teenagers continue to smoke. Whether they choose ecigs as a healthy alternative to smoking, pursue them because of their sweet flavors, or smoke them because advertisements appeal to them seems to matter little.
Ultimately the Food and Drug Administration’s report should provide the clarity that will allow youth to make their own, informed decisions. Perhaps that is the struggle that many face right now regarding e-cigs. Few actually have the information necessary to make informed arguments, to debate with facts to substantiate opinions, and to choose with the knowledge and understanding of the effects of e-cigs on the body.
The impending knowledge should provide us with clarity and help support our decisions. Sadly, it will also likely fuel debates and arguments. Whether you stand on the side of big tobacco or are a member of the anti-tobacco crowd, know that what we all ultimately want is to keep our youth healthy, happy and safe.