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E-cigarette ads may boost chance teens start vaping

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Unregulated marketing of e-cigarettes may be associated with their growing popularity, according to a new study.

E-cigarettes are the most popular tobacco product among teens and young adults today, surpassing cigarettes in 2014 with 4.9% of middle school students and 20.8% of high school students reportedly vaping.

The study followed 2,288 teens and 2,423 young adults (ages 18-29) across metropolitan Texas who reported having never vaped in 2014.

Researchers found that those who remembered seeing in-store and TV e-cigarette marketing were significantly more likely to begin using e-cigarettes up to 2.5 years later, with an increased likelihood of 30% for young adults. Results held even after controlling for the effects of the use of other tobacco products and vaping by peers.

“Marketing for e-cigarettes is currently unregulated, which has allowed in-store and television advertising to proliferate,” says Alexandra Loukas, a professor at Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Our research shows that there’s a clear relationship between the types and placement of e-cigarette ads on the increased likelihood of youth and young adult use of these products. More research is needed.”

The research appears in Pediatrics.

Source: UT Austin