TEEN HEALTH Published January5, 2016 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

TV Fuels Demand for E-Cigarettes among Teens

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FDA Proposes New Regulations On Electronic Cigarettes
(Photo : Joe Raedle | Getty Images News)

A US health agency is expressing alarm on unregulated advertising on e-cigarettes, saying that it may only invite kids to smoke them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released the results of its 2014 tobacco survey among the youth, and the number suggested that more than 65% of them saw ads for e-cigarettes, Boston Globe reported.  

At least 35% of the surveyed teens said they saw the ads on television. Meanwhile, 30% of them mentioned they had seen the ads on print such as newspapers and magazines. Most of the ads, however, were found online and retail stores.

Although the survey didn't conclude that these ads, which the agency said features rebellion and independence, were causing the teens to smoke, Dr Tom Frieden, CDC director, has already shared his concern that the ads may only undermine their years of effort in reducing smoking habits among the youth.

In 2014 the CDC reported a 4.3% and 15.8% decline of cigarette smoking among middle and high school students since 2011. However, it also cited an increased use of electronic cigarettes within the same period at 1.5% among high schoolers and 0.6% among middle school students.

Some marketers have positioned e-cigarettes as an alternative to regular cigarettes since the battery-operated device delivers nicotine, sometimes with flavors, by vapor than smoke.

Even if the health effects of vaporized nicotine still remain unclear, the CDC believes that e-cigarettes may lead to brain damage and nicotine addiction.

CDC therefore recommended limiting the sales of e-cigarettes to establishments that do not sell to teens, discouraging transactions online, requiring age verification upon entering an online store, making a purchase, or accepting delivery, and limiting the number of stores selling e-cigarettes.

A trade group promoting e-cigarettes has called the new CDC report as "misleading." Smoke-free Alternatives Trade Association executive director Cynthia Cabrera said that CDC didn't mention about the teen's exposure to other sensitive topics like sex and violence, which are also common in advertising.

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