August 29th, 2013

E-Cigarette Makers’ Ads Echo Tobacco’s Heyday

By Stuart Elliott
The New York Times

Electronic cigarettes may be a creation of the early 21st century, but critics of the devices say manufacturers are increasingly borrowing marketing tactics that are more reminiscent of the heady days of tobacco in the mid-1900s.
The Blu eCigs brand recently added the actress Jenny McCarthy to its roster of star endorsers.

Are electronic cigarettes really helping smokers quit or prolonging nicotine addiction? How should they be regulated, if at all? Some of the slogans, like “A perfect puff every time,” echo classic tobacco cigarette taglines like “Not a cough in a carload,” or “A treat instead of a treatment.”

With American smokers buying e-cigarettes at a record pace — annual sales are expected to reach $1.7 billion by year’s end — e-cigarette makers are opening their wallets wide, spending growing sums on television commercials with celebrities, catchy slogans and sports sponsorships. Those tactics can no longer be used to sell tobacco cigarettes, but are readily available to the industry because it is not covered by the laws or regulations that affect the tobacco cigarette industry.

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