E-cigarettes are claimed to help people quit smoking but new studies point out that even non-smokers are being exposed to these devices, urging them to smoke in the future. A new study says that more than half of teens and children are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements and marketing.
Researchers from a Scottish government-commissioned survey have found that 60% of secondary school pupils have seen e-cigarettes sold in shops, malls and even stalls. Around 26% have been exposed to outdoor poster advertisements while 23% have heard or seen advertisements on televisions and radios in the past week, BBC News reports.
Subsequently, the report also discovered that 16% had used an e-cig once or twice and 5% of the students who never tried smoking had used the device. Most of them claimed that curiosity pushed them in trying e-cigarettes.
The National reports that the kids knew that the products contain nicotine and around 70% said that they are aware that it's less dangerous that real tobacco cigarettes. Also, about 10% of those using e-cigs said that they purchased it at a retail store or over the internet.
Since the distribution of these devices is not yet regulated due to lack of provisions and laws, representatives of e-cigarette companies said that they observed the voluntary restrictions of responsible retailers not to sell them to minors. However, there are still retail owners who sell these devices to minors.
The exact disadvantages or benefits of e-cigarettes are not yet established which is why strict regulation of its impact on minors should be implemented. One major concern of selling e-cigs to minors is that they may serve as a gateway into tobacco use.
Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, told The National, "This is an extremely useful survey, that gives us one of the first good indications of young people's awareness and experience of e-cigarettes. Of particular interest is the large number of children who are being exposed to marketing of these products."
She added, "While more research is needed, e-cigarettes are almost certainly less harmful than tobacco, and if people are using them as an aid to quit smoking, that is a good thing. However, the Scottish Government does not believe that children should have access to them. This is the balance we are aiming for in our forthcoming Health Bill."