According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge advertisements for flavored e-cigarettes can encourage kids to smoke.
E-cigarettes have appeared on the market as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Advertising them encourages people to quit smoking tobacco and try this healthier alternative. E-cigarettes usually come with different candy and fruit flavors to appeal to the consumer. The problem is that whatever is fruit and candy-flavored usually appeals to children as well. And since these are not real cigarettes, they might feel tempted to try them out.
A number of 598 school kids participated in the study. They were divided into three groups. One of the groups was shown ads for flavored e-cigarettes while another group was shown ads for non-flavored e-cigarettes. The third group wasn’t shown any ads.
The findings showed that the children from the first group said they liked the ads and they would like to try flavored e-cigarettes, while the children in the other two groups were not interested. However, the kids didn’t seem to consider smoking a cool or attractive habit.
Therefore, we could believe that these ads do not after all encourage them to smoke. However, they do encourage them to buy and try e-cigarettes, mainly because of the flavors and because they don’t seem to be as dangerous as tobacco.
Although in the UK it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors, reports show the rate of users younger than 18 has raised from 5 percent to 8 percent, from 2013 to 2014. Nowadays, e-cigarettes come in about 8,000 flavors.
The findings of the study show that a less heavy advertising is required for flavored e-cigarettes to make sure the number of children using them is not going to increase. However, these ads cannot be completely banned as the products are not considered to be harmful to adults.
Perhaps, a better education with concern to smoking and vaping could be of help. In this way, if children are provided with more information and advice they could eventually be able to make the right choice, without being influenced by flavored e-cigarettes advertisements.
Nevertheless, authorities are working on finding ways to deliver the ads with a small level of influence over children as there is still some concern they could at some point pass from vaping e-cigarettes to smoking tobacco.
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