By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
E-cigarette advertisements increased the odds that middle and high school students would use the devices, according to a Pediatrics study released Monday.
The research said that exposure to e-cigarette advertisements among kids ages 12 to 17 increased by 256 percent between 2011 and 2013.
Between 2011 and 2014, manufacturers increased spending on e-cigarette ads in various mediums from $6.4 million to $115.3 million.
Compared to adolescents who never saw television or movie ads for e-cigarettes, middle school students who viewed such ads “most of the time or always” were 80 percent more likely to use the products, while high school students were 54 percent more inclined to do so.
Meanwhile, middle school students who saw newspaper advertisements for e-cigarettes most of the time or always were 87 percent more likely to take up the habit, compared with high school students, who were 71 percent more likely to do so.
Middle school students who viewed in-store advertisements most of the time or always were more than twice as likely to try e-cigarettes as individuals who were not exposed to such advertisements. Meanwhile, high school students were 91 percent more likely to use e-cigarettes as a result of similar viewing.
The analysis is based on findings from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which examined how often youth saw advertisements for various tobacco products between 2011 and 2014, and whether or not they used such products.
It comes just days after the release of the 2015 NYTS, which found nearly 16 percent of all high school students and more than 5 percent of all middle school students use e-cigarettes.
“It seems we’ve turned back the clock when it comes to tobacco,” said American Heart Association Chief Executive Nancy Brown. “The cigarette ads of years past enticed previous generations to take up a terrible habit that killed millions of Americans. Now this new study draws a dangerous line from e-cigarette ads to the escalating use of this product by young people. “
The Food and Drug Administration, which has oversight on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, has proposed a rule to bring e-cigarettes under its authority. That rule, proposed exactly two years ago, is still pending.
However, last week, the House Appropriations Committee voted to exempt e-cigarettes and other vapor products on the market from FDA regulation.
Brown said that could hamper effective tobacco prevention efforts that have been in place for decades.
“We must tighten restrictions on all tobacco products immediately before more of the nation’s youth become nicotine addicts and history tragically repeats itself,” she said.