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US Teens Are Attracted To E-cigarettes Due To Online Advertising: Study

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It is no longer new to most young smokers or non-smokers to shift into using e-cigarettes, but what really drives them to do so? U.S. teens are likely to use e-cigarettes because of online advertisements, according to a new study.

Those who are aged 12 to 18 years old are more likely to use e-cigarettes from the influence of online advertisements, said the lead author Tushar Singh from the Office on Smoking and Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Using the data from 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, in which 10,419 middle school students and 11,399 high school students participated, the researcher analyzed the data and found that middle school students who see online ads are thrice more likely to use e-cigarettes as compared to those teens who have not seen the e-cigarette advertisements.

High school students are twice as much to use the device when they saw the ad as compared to those who never saw the ads.

"E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products, such as independence, rebellion and sex," Singh said.

Results showed that teens in middle school who frequently see newspaper ads have an 87 percent chance of using e-cigarettes, while high school students are 71 percent likely to use e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes promotions on television and movies seen by middle schoolers have 80 percent more likely to influence, while 54 percent more likely among high schoolers, if compared with their peers who never saw cigarette ads.

Advertisements in stores influence high school students to use e-cigarettes by 91 percent as compared to their peers who rarely see the ads.

"The situation is compounded by the fact that e-cigarette online vendors are using social network services to market their products - and many online vendor websites are very easy for youth to enter and make purchases," said Singh.

The findings also showed that 31.4 percent of middle school users of e-cigarettes are exposed to Internet advertisements compared to the 10.8 percent of non-users.

Another revelation is that teens who tried using e-cigarettes are more likely to use tobacco for smoking.

CDC advises that health care providers must provide information-dissemination on dangers of smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes. He also advises parents to watch over what their kids could see over the Internet and discuss its effects to them.

The study was conducted at a single point in time and has not taken into consideration whether the students saw an ad just before they took the survey.

The study's findings were published April 25 in the journal Pediatrics.

Photo: Lauri Rantala | Flickr

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