Teens more likely to try e-cigs when exposed to ads, study finds

Teens more likely to try e-cigs when exposed to ads, study finds
© Getty

Teens who watch an advertisement on TV for electronic cigarettes are more likely to try them in the future, according to a new study by RTI International. 

The study, conducted by Matthew Farrelly, a chief scientist at the nonprofit research and development firm, found adolescents exposed to four e-cigarette ads reported a 50 percent higher likelihood of future use. The same group was also more likely to have positive attitudes about e-cigarettes.


The e-cigarette advertisements used for the study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, featured celebrities who touted e-cigarettes as a “smarter alternative” that you can “smoke virtually anywhere,” “without the guilt,” and “enjoy … without affecting the people” around you.

“Compared with adolescents in the control group, those experimentally exposed to e-cigarette advertising were significantly more likely to believe that e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, can be used where smoking is not allowed, can be used without affecting those around them, and are a good way to express their independence,” the study said.

E-cigarette use has risen rapidly in the U.S. in recent years. The study found U.S. sales have doubled every year since they were introduced, reaching $2 billion annually in 2013.

Data released earlier this year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products found e-cigarette use among middle- and high-school students has tripled in the last year.

The FDA has yet to finalize its deeming regulation, which would for the first time regulate all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and cigars. The agency has proposed an 18 and older age limit on e-cigarette sales and warning labels on packaging.