Sen Boxer calls on e-cigarette manufacturers not to do TV ads - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent a letter to the executives of five of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers urging them to refrain from advertising e-cigarettes on television, citing the danger of e-cigarette advertising on young people.

Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Image/US Senate

Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Image/US Senate

“Many e-cigarette advertisements currently on air make clear companies are trying to target a wider audience than what many in your industry claim is the intended market: those who are looking to quit smoking. For nearly 45 years, manufacturers of traditional cigarettes have agreed to a ban on television advertising. I merely ask that you restrict advertising of e-cigarettes in the same manner,” Senator Boxer wrote.

In the letter to the executives of NJOY, Lorillard Inc., Altria Group Inc., LOGIC Technology, and Reynolds American Inc., Senator Boxer highlighted the danger of this advertising on adolescents, and cited evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that e-cigarette use among high schoolers tripled from 2011 to 2013. The Senator also criticized the companies for ignoring the increased rate of adolescent exposure to their advertising.

The Senator wrote, “Considering these risks, youth exposure to advertising, particularly on television, is happening at an alarming rate.”

Senator Boxer is a leader in the fight to protect children from e-cigarettes, and in February re-introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act. The legislation would permit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine what constitutes marketing to children, and would allow the FTC to work with states attorneys general to enforce the ban. In March, the Senator sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg along with a petition urging the agency to finalize a rule to regulate e-cigarettes and protect public health.

Senator Boxer gave the companies 30 days to respond with a pledge to refrain from advertising e-cigarettes on television.

“Believe me, your positive response will save lives. If you don’t agree, your industry will be responsible for the consequences,” Senator Boxer wrote.

The full text of the letter follows:

April 15, 2015

I write today to ask you to protect our nation’s youth and the public health by refraining from advertising e-cigarettes on television.

Last year, the Surgeon General noted in “The Health Consequences of Smoking-50 Years of Progress” that nicotine has known harmful health effects, including consequences for adolescent brain development. Yet the popularity of e-cigarettes is on the rise among youth. In November, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that e-cigarette use among high schoolers tripled over two years from 2011 to 2013. And these children are being exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, propylene glycol and nanoparticles that are present in traditional cigarettes, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Considering these risks, youth exposure to advertising, particularly on television, is happening at an alarming rate. Last June, a study by RTI International published in the journal Pediatrics found that youth exposure to television e-cigarette advertisements increased 256% from 2011 to 2013. The study also found that e-cigarette television ads appeared on broadcast network programs that were among the 100 highest rated youth programs for the 2012-2013 TV season.

Many e-cigarette advertisements currently on air make clear companies are trying to target a wider audience than what many in your industry claim is the intended market: those who are looking to quit smoking. For nearly 45 years, manufacturers of traditional cigarettes have agreed to a ban on television advertising. I merely ask that you restrict advertising of e-cigarettes in the same manner.

Please respond to me within 30 days as to whether your company will pledge to refrain from advertising on television. Believe me, your positive response will save lives. If you don’t agree, your industry will be responsible for the consequences.

6 Comments

  1. Nate says:

    E-cigs are recreational products that happen to useful for smoking cessation in people who are inclined to use them for that purpose. No vapor product is or has ever been marketed as a quit-smoking aid anywhere in the United States. In fact, it would be a VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW if they were so marketed, as any smoking cessation product must receive FDA approval.

    When a US Senator can’t comprehend even the most basic facts about a subject, especially one that has potentially massive public health implications, that is very troubling indeed.

  2. Money trumps health any day. Thank you Senator.

  3. David says:

    Sure, as soon as BigPharma takes their ads off too.

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