E-cig market lacks public disclaimers, advertising to youth

smouseThanks to our commercialized society, new products are constantly being pushed onto and heavily influencing consumers. However, the rapidly rising market of electronic cigarettes is starting to target children with glorified ads and limited disclaimers.

Companies that manufacture e-cigarettes promote the same message: They are not as “bad” as traditional cigarettes. Jumping on board, the public has placed vape pens and e-cigarettes on a pedestal, praising their concern with individual well-being.

Yet, it seems the market has forgotten its product still isn’t healthy.



"There's no question that puff for puff, an e-cigarette is delivering less bad stuff than a cigarette, since it doesn't contain tar or carbon monoxide," Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, told Teen Vogue. "They do, however, contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds, and metals."

Just because an e-cigarette may not contain the same dangers as a traditional cigarette doesn’t mean we should be actively encouraging this behavior. In an ever-growing society, the public often tries to find better alternatives for not-so-safe behavior, placing a mask on the actual problem itself.

Marketing tactics for e-cigarettes, especially the vape pens, have been increasingly directed toward our youth. Advertisers are promoting alluring flavors, such as bubble gum and gummy bears, just to get kids to pick up a pen.

Unfortunately, all of this advertising lacks any type of regulation. The public and the manufactures know so little about the side effects of this new type of puffing, yearning for some clarity and approval by the FDA.

“So far there's been little scientific research on the use of vaporizers, though the federal Food and Drug Administration has announced its intention to examine and regulate e-cigarettes,” USA Today reported.

Leading by example, many celebrities have been spotted sporting pens and e-cigarettes across Hollywood, as well. Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry and many others have jumped on the e-cigarette bandwagon, providing an imaginary "thumbs up" from celebrity lifestyles.

Although this trend has been granted the nickname of a “great alternative”, some are fearful vaping could just lead to further encouragement of damaging behaviors for our youth. By placing a green light on this new market, how can we expect individuals to stop when real dangers do arise?

"Research shows that young people can experience symptoms of dependence — including withdrawal and tolerance — after minimal exposure to nicotine,” Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also told Teen Vogue.

E-cigarettes and vape pens are still in a gray area and public knowledge is really at an all-time low. The public, kids especially, are being sucked into the comparative data with a regular cigarette, but this alternative fails to stand on its own.

Some are looking to take a stand against this growing campaign, halting the electronic industry in its tracks. The e-cigarette market has shot a low blow in their advertising strategies, targeting kids who are so easily influenced at a young age.

“They are making a campaign to go after kids, and that must stop,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said.

While this trend is a personal choice, the market is a shaky one. Unknown dangers, heavy influence on children and a rapid rise in markets across the nation without any sort of health standard add up to unhealthy solutions.

Reach the columnist at rsmouse@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @BeccaSmouse

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