Vaping is on the rise among young people. In 2018, about 21% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, a dramatic increase from 2% in 2011. Vaping during adolescence can harm the developing brain, can cause respiratory health issues and may lead to nicotine addiction and the leading cause of preventable death in the US, smoking. A new study, “E-cigarette Marketing Exposure and Subsequent Experimentation among Youth and Young Adults,” in the November 2019 Pediatrics, found that teenagers and young adults who were exposed to e-cigarette marketing were more likely to start vaping over a one-year period. Researchers for the study, which is published online on Oct. 28, examined survey results of a nationally representative sample of youth and young adults, ages 12-24, who reported having never consumed tobacco products of any kind, asking them if they have noticed e-cigarettes being advertised on billboards, in newspapers or magazines, websites or social media sites, on radio, on television, and at events like fairs, festivals, or sporting events, and found that more than 70% of youth and young adults (equivalent to about 18 million young people in the US) reported exposure to e-cigarette marketing in the past month. These ads impacted young people to different degrees, but susceptible young adults exposed to e-cigarette marketing were about eight times as likely to have experimented with e-cigarettes than those not exposed. Researchers concluded that the FDA should reconsider regulations on e-cigarette marketing and that counter-marketing messages designed to address these powerful ads are needed, but that more research is needed to understand how e-cigarette marketing strategies may influence a young person to start vaping.
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.