March 3rd, 2014
E-Cigarette Critics Worry New Ads Will Make 'Vaping' Cool For Kids
Electronic cigarette makers are getting bold with their advertising, using provocative new print ads and on TV. But public health advocates say these images are luring kids to hook them on nicotine. The latest ad for blu eCigs, for example, which ran in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, features an itsy bitsy bikini bottom emblazoned with the company name and includes the tagline “Slim. Charged. Ready to go.” You don’t see the model’s face. The frame is from pierced belly button to mid-thigh. It left Stan Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, struggling for a delicate way to describe it.
“The advertising just hit a new high in terms of chutzpah,” says Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Using sex to sell cigarettes is nothing new, he says, and e-cigarettes are pushing the envelope because they’re unregulated.
“If the Obama administration were serious about protecting the public on public health, they would immediately move to clamp down on the way e-cigarettes are being advertised and apply the same rules that apply to cigarette advertising,” Glantz says.
Those rules include bans on sports sponsorships, cartoon characters, flavors and TV advertising.