While, it is not yet known if electronic cigarettes are safe or not, a new study has revealed that ads for e-cigarettes make smokers want to smoke tobacco ones. The results of the study were published in the journal Health Communications.
It appears that advertisements for electronic cigarettes will entice current and former tobacco smokers to light up a tobacco cigarettes. For the study, scientists have examined around 800 former smokers who watched ads for e-cigarettes. Following the viewing of the ads, they were then required to answer questions in a survey to determine their intentions, smoking urges and behaviors.
After careful analysis of their answers it was revealed that daily tobacco cigarette smokers had a bigger urge to smoke after viewing ads for e-cigarettes. Similar results were obtained with former smokers who saw e-cigarettes ads. The key in these ads is the fact that the person holding the e-cigarette needs to be seen vaping, or inhaling the smoke/vapor. Researchers found that it is the inhaling that gives former and current tobacco cigarettes smokers the urge to smoke.
Erin K. Maloney, lead author of the study and PhD of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, said that now researchers know that exposure to smoking cues, such as matches, ashtrays, lighters, visual depictions of cigarettes and smoke heightens a smoker’s urge to smoke a cigarettes and decreased the confidence of former smokers in their ability to refrain from lighting up.
All participants in the study were former, daily or intermittent smokers. The scientists set up three conditions for the participants of the study: watching the online advertisements, watching the online ads with just the audio (the video being replaced by textual transcript of the ad) or answering a series of random questions that were unrelated to the ads.
It was found that daily smokers who saw the vaping ads smoked a tobacco cigarette while the experiment was taking place. Daily smokers who saw the ads with just the audio and no video and those who did not see the ads did not light up a tobacco cigarette.
Given the sophistication of cigarette marketing in the past and the exponential increase in advertising dollars allotted to e-cigarette promotion in the past year, it should be expected that advertisements for these products created by big tobacco companies will maximize smoking cues in their advertisements, and if not regulated, individuals will be exposed to much more e-cigarette advertising on a daily basis.
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