The more teenagers say they have seen e-cigarette ads, the more often they use electronic cigarettes and cigarettes, according to a study published in ERJ Open Search .
The study was conducted in Germany where regulations on tobacco advertising and e-cigarettes are more permissive than in other parts of Europe. Elsewhere there are firm bans on tobacco advertising, but certain types of advertisements and promotions for electronic cigarettes are allowed.
Researchers say their work provides evidence that children and adolescents should be protected from potential harm from smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes through a comprehensive ban on advertisements and promotions.
Dr. Julia Hansen, senior researcher at the Institute for Therapy and Research in Health (IFT-Nord), Kiel, Germany, co-investigated the study. She said: "The World Health Organization recommends a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but in Germany tobacco and e-cigarettes can still be advertised in stores, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards, billboards and billboards.
The researchers asked 6,902 students from schools in six German states to fill out anonymous questionnaires. They were between 10 and 18 years old, with an average age of 13 years. They were asked about their lifestyle, including diet, exercise, smoking, and use of electronic cigarettes. They were also asked about their socioeconomic status and school performance.
Students were presented with pictures of actual e-cigarette ads with brand names removed and asked how often they had seen each of them.
In total, 39% of the students said they saw the ads. Those who said they saw ads were 2.3 times more likely to say they use electronic cigarettes and 40% more likely to say they smoke tobacco cigarettes. The results also suggest a correlation between seeing more ads and using e-cigarettes and smoking cigarettes more often. Other factors such as age, sensation-seeking tendency, type of school attended by teenagers and having a friend who smokes were also all linked to the likelihood of using e-cigarettes and smoking.
Dr. Hansen said: "In this large study of teenagers, we clearly see a pattern: those who say they have seen electronic cigarette ads are more likely to say that they used conventional e-cigarettes and cigarettes.
"This type of research can not prove cause and effect, but it does suggest that electronic cigarette advertising is reaching out to these vulnerable young people. At the same time, we know that electronic cigarette manufacturers are offering child-friendly flavors, such as gummi . " bear, chewing gum and cherry.
"There is evidence that electronic cigarettes are not harmless, and this study contributes to existing evidence that electronic cigarette advertising and the use of electronic cigarettes may be driving teens to cigarette smoking." There are concerns that the use of electronic cigarettes can act as a gateway to cigarette smoking and can contribute to the development of a new generation of smokers, so young people should be protected from any kind of marketing action. "
Dr. Hansen hopes to continue studying this large group of school students to see if there are any changes over time. She says this can help clarify the cause and effect between exposure to ads, using e-cigarettes and smoking.
Professor Charlotta Pisinger is chair of the European Respiratory Society's Tobacco Control Committee and was not involved in the research. She said, "E-cigarette producers may argue that advertising is a legitimate way to inform adult users about their products. However, this study suggests that children and young people may be suffering from collateral damage as a result of lack of regulation. " Policymakers need to realize that advertising is reaching adolescents and that this may not only be promoting the use of electronic cigarettes but also the likelihood of smoking and the health problems that this entails. "
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