According to a research team from University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, the increasing e-cigarettes ad campaign, although perfectly legal, might damage former smokers’ resolution to keep away from tobacco and could have unintended benefits for tobacco companies. Previous studies were concerned mainly with the psychological link between the use of electronic cigarettes and actually smoking. Dr. Erin K. Maloney, Ph.D., suggests that e-cigarettes not only fulfill the same need, but as shown in her study also entice people to go back to tobacco products.
“Because many e-cigarette brands that have a budget to advertise on television are visually similar to tobacco cigarettes, we wanted to see if similar effects can be attributed to e-cigarette advertising,” Maloney said. As one of the researchers who authored the study, she had the privilege of examining over 800 daily, intermittent and former smokers.
The method the study employed is asking each participant a series of question. The questions followed people reactions to their tobacco cravings after being exposed to electronic cigarettes advertising campaigns. Maloney and Joseph N. Cappella’s premise was that “visual depictions of cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, lighters, and smoke heightens smokers’ urge to smoke a cigarette.”
The conclusions of the study showed that only 22% of smokers witnessing ads without the vaping process itself smoked a real cigarette, compared to 35% of the subjects that chose to do the same after viewing the vaping process.
While it has been almost ten years since the United States and many other countries enforced bans upon tobacco advertising in television, the e-cigarette industry doesn’t fall under the same laws. The study, published in the journal Health Communication, forecasted that e-cigarette companies will be spending more than $1 billion on their marketing campaign this year, with a staggering 50 percent estimated growth rate over the next four years.
The study co-authors warn everyone who is listening that since traditional cigarette advertising is becoming ever more sophisticated, big tobacco companies can hugely benefit from e-cigarette ads if the visuals remain unrestricted and, why not, they may actually direct funds to focus on smoking cues in the clips. This will result in “much more e-cigarette advertising on a daily basis” for consumers which, if left in its current form, will only make people crave for the real thing.
Image Source: Tech Times
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