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Are Teenagers Being Targeted By E-Cigarette and Vaping Advertisers?

If you were watching cable TV when you suddenly had an inexplicable urge to smoke an e-cigarette, you may not be alone.

A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics shows that young adults’ exposure to e-cigarette advertising has shot up 321 percent since 2011. Unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no enforced federal regulations for marketing e-cigarettes, yet.

The trendsetter is Blu Cigs, a product of the tobacco giant Lorillard that is responsible for 82 percent of e-cig advertisements in the market today. If you watched Comedy Central, VH1, WGN America, Country Music Television or TV Land in the last three years, you may have seen one of their commercials. They’re the ones with Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy ‘enjoying’ their new freedom from tobacco. Here’s an example clip:

Although the ads are intended for adults, they often air during programming watched by children and teenagers. The concern is that young adults being encouraged to use nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes work by vaporizing a liquid solution that may or may not contain nicotine.

In the words of the new study’s co-author, Jennifer Duke, Ph.D., “in the absence of evidence-based public health messages regarding the health risks of e-cigarettes, television advertising is promoting beliefs and behaviors that pose harm to youth and young adults and raise public health concerns.”

Proponents of the new technology, which originated in China during 2004, argue that e-cigarettes are an effective aid for smoking cessation. The majority of people that have used e-cigarettes are former or regular smokers. There is no evidence that they have harmful long term side effects or encourage non-smokers to start, but that may be because the industry is so new.

Also Read: The Vape Debate: Pros and Cons of E-Cigarettes

Last year Greek scientists showed that ‘smoking’ e-cigarettes increases air resistance in the respiratory system. The effect is similar to airway blockage caused by asthma or emphysema, suggesting that prolonged use of e-cigs may be harmful. It is common sense that inhaling anything other than fresh air may be hazardous to your long term health.

Many bars and restaurants have begun to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in smoking sections only. The FDA is working on a new set of regulations that would ban the sale of vaporizers to minors. In the meantime, make sure your kids can make an informed decision about vaporizing.

Also Read: Warning Signs Your Teen is Experimenting with Drugs