A British study suggests that ads featuring bubble gum-flavored e-cigarettes could entice kids to pick up habit. Researchers found that school kids are more likely to start ‘vaping’ after being exposed to commercials that promote candy- and chocolate-flavored e-cigs, as well.
Still, the study didn’t find a link between these commercials and a higher temptation to take up smoking. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat nicotine to generate vapors that are inhaled and exhaled by users. To make it more appealing, e-cig makers imbued nicotine with zillions of flavors that appeal to all tastes.
As of recently, however, candy- and bubble gum-flavored e-cigarettes sparked concerns that they may make school kids more likely to try out the devices. Researchers noted that candy-flavored nicotine and the like seem especially catered to kids’ taste.
In the U.S., other flavors except for menthol have been banned in tobacco products. But as e-cigarette industry lacks any regulations, makers are free to add whatever flavor they wish.
Erika Sward of the American Lung Association noted that some flavors appeal to kids the most, so the industry is taking advantage of it. For instance, cereals now have added sugar to make them more appealing to kids.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) noted that not only bubble gum and candy flavors are of concerns. Kids may be attracted to Gummi Bears, Sweet Tarts and Kool-Aid flavors, too.
“It doesn’t get much more blatant. It’s quite clearly targeted at kids,”
Cliff Douglas, head of the ACS’ Tobacco Control Center, said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that almost 70 percent of middle-schoolers and high-school students watched at least once an e-cigarette commercial. This is why, health experts believe that kids would be even more likely to try the devices if alluring flavors were featured.
A research team at the University of Cambridge wanted to learn just how high the risk was. They picked 600 children with ages ranging from 11 to 16 and put them in three groups. The control group saw no e-cigarette ads, the second group saw ads for non-flavored devices, while the third group was exposed to candy and bubble-gum-flavored products.
The latter group reported the greatest interest in the ads and was more likely to try the electronic devices.
Researchers noted that finding a link between these ads and the risk of kids to pick up vaping was crucial to explain the prevalence of e-cigs among U.S. kids, which has tripled in just one year.
Image Source: Pixabay