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Teens Receptive to E-Cigarette Ads Are More Likely to Smoke in the Future, Study Shows

The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in 1970 banned advertising of cigarettes on television and radio and resulted in a decline in smoking initiation, but new products like e-cigarettes are not covered by this law and may advertise on television. A study "Receptivity to Tobacco Advertising and Susceptibility to Tobacco Products" published in the June 2017 Pediatrics (published online May 22), found that non-smoking teens who viewed and were receptive to advertising for e-cigarettes are more susceptible to future cigarette smoking. Researchers examined the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study that interviewed 10,751 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 who had never used tobacco and found that 41 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds, and half of older adolescents, were receptive to at least one tobacco advertisement. Across all age groups in the study, receptivity to advertising was highest for e-cigarettes (28 percent to 33 percent, depending on age), followed by cigarettes (22 percent to 25 percent), smokeless tobacco (15 percent to 21 percent) and cigars (8 percent to 13 percent). E-cigarette ads shown on television had the highest recall among PATH interviewees. Researchers concluded that there was no difference between advertising for tobacco and non-tobacco products and the susceptibility to future cigarette smoking, but more research is needed to help inform new regulatory policy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A related commentary, “Noncigarette Tobacco Advertising May Be Hazardous to a Teen's Health,” also is being published in the June 2017 Pediatrics (online May 22).

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