CDC: 7 in 10 teens are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report Tuesday that stated about 70 percent of teens are exposed to e-cigarette ads through numerous mediums.

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  • A federal report released Tuesday indicated 7 in 10 teens are exposed to e-cigarette advertising in retail stores, the Internet and on TV.

  • And exposure to these ads has young adults who try to avoid the adverse health effects of e-cigarettes in a "Wild West" of sorts.

  • "It's the Wild West out there when it comes to e-cigarette advertising," Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Washington Post. "It's no coincidence that as the advertising has skyrocketed, the use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed."

  • The CDC report draws parallels between the e-cigarette industry "hooking" youths through ads and how the tobacco industry used to do the same, Tripp Mickle wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

  • The report also came out at a time when teens are using e-cigarettes — or "vaping" — more than ever.

  • "E-cigarette use tripled among U.S. teenagers in 2014, and for the first time, more high-school students puffed on the devices — 13.4 percent — than traditional smokes — 9.2 percent," according to the Journal.

  • Amy Rushlow noted for Yahoo Health the boom in e-cigarette advertising nearly tripled, the same rate by which use among teenagers increased.

  • "In 2011, advertisers spent $6.4 million on e-cig advertisements in newspapers, magazines, television, and online," Yahoo Health's report read. "By 2013, that figure topped $60 million, according to AdAge. And in 2014, according to a CDC statement, advertisers spent $115 million promoting e-cigs."

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  • So where do teens see these ads most?

  • There's no shortage of mediums, but around 55 percent of young people see e-cigarette ads in stores, Alexandra Sifferlin wrote for Time. On the Internet, it was 40 percent; movies or TV, 37 percent; and in newspapers or magazines, 30 percent.

  • The risks of e-cigarettes compared to traditional cigarettes and in general are still being studied, Barbara Liston wrote for Reuters.

  • Many researchers believe e-cigarettes prove less harmful than smokes; however, Frieden told Reuters that use of e-cigarettes in young people could lead to brain damage, addiction — and also higher risk of smoking regular cigarettes.

  • My colleague Lois M. Collins reported on the "cloudy" nature of information the public currently has on vaping.

  • E-cigarette proponents argue the devices are a "stop-smoking tool," Collins' piece indicated.

  • But experts counter there's little research out there to back that up, Collins wrote.

  • Regardless of the risks or benefits, e-cigarette companies are "getting to (kids) early, long before they become teenagers," Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told the Post.

  • "It was the case with cigarettes 25 years ago," the Post quoted Myers as saying. "They are using the same themes and the same images [as tobacco]. But the penetration in the modern media era is as strong as anything we've ever seen."

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Payton Davis is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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