The power of media has become stronger than ever. A new study suggests that the chances of teens using e-cigarettes are increased due to advertisements. The question now is how do these ads really lure kids to start using e-cigarettes?
Behavioral scientist William Shadel says advertising helps the product appear more acceptable and fit for normal circumstances. Aside from that, it can also impart the impression that usage of the products will yield good results such as having fun and being attractive.
Therefore, it is possible that exposure to e-cigarette ads pushes people to think that e-cigarette use is common and that using it will result in positive effects, adds Shadel, who was not involved in the study.
Easy Access To E-Cigarette Ads
One important factor that may enhance the effects of ads to teen e-cigarette use is the widespread access to these ads.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says young people are vulnerable to e-cigarette advertisements.
In 2014, 18 million members of the youth were exposed to e-cigarette ads, 10 million of whom are high school students and 8 million are middle school students.
About 8 million high school students saw the ads from retail outlets and 6 million from the Internet.
The proportion for the middle school kids is quite similar, with 6 million seeing the ads in retail stores and 4 million on the world wide web.
Approximately 15 percent said they saw e-cigarette ads from all the possible sources of media: stores, the Internet, print and television/movies.
Exposure Leads To Usage
E-cigarette firms have worked harder to boost product advertising over the years. CDC says these companies have increased their spending from $6.4 million in 2011 to $115 million in 2014.
The themes of e-cigarette ads are now similar to those of tobacco ads, which include sex, rebellion and independence.
These actions may have possibly increased exposure, which in turn, boosted usage.
CDC says that from 2011 to 2014, the use of e-cigarettes in the past 30 days have increased from less than 1 percent to nearly 4 percent among middle school kids and from less than 2 percent to 13 percent in high school students.
What Can Be Done?
Indeed, ads really have its way of luring young people to start using e-cigarettes. The bigger challenge now is looking for ways to mitigate the problem and manage what has become of the youth.
"Efforts by states, communities, and others could reduce this exposure," the CDC writes.
For the members of the health care team, CDC advises to counsel young people about the dangers of nicotine, tobacco and e-cigarettes. Encourage those who smoke to quit and guide them in the process.
The medical team should also assess the youth's media use and advise caregivers/parents to be proactive in deciding which websites their kids may visit.