There has been a lot of buzz around E-Cigs being marketed toward kids because of the fruity flavors they often come in. There is a lot to be said about this, for sure. Marketing any kind of smoking device, especially something that is potentially addictive, is terrible.
However, I have yet to see a reputable E-Cig retailer actually truly market toward kids. The biggest recent attack was aimed at Blu, who reportedly set up TV commercials to run during times when kids would be watching the program. And according to a study by the journal Pediatrics (Here’s a news article on the whole debacle) the exposure to the commercial skyrocketed among kids between 12 and 24. However, even if that is (I’m willing to trust the study here) the case, the commercial is very poor marketing for targeting kids. There wasn’t anyone under the age of 30 in the commercial, let alone 25, which means there would be no one in the commercials for kids to relate to. At the very least, these commercials were not made to target kids. With that said, this allows younger kids to purchase them directly online get these products shipped right to them.
In addition to that, the amount of kids seeing these commercials would skyrocket simply by virtue of them appearing on television. These days, kids watch everything – there is no longer an adult only time slot or channel that would be safe from young adult eyes. If Blu or Njoy wanted any TV commercials at all, they would be seen by young adults. There’s no escaping that.
As for the flavoring issue, it’s hard to see that as a children targeting move, either, for a couple of reasons. First, fruit flavors are the easiest to produce, so of course they would be the first flavor aside from tobacco and menthol available. Second, adults love fruity flavors too. Take a look at alcohol – there are too many fruit flavored drinks to count, but they aren’t targeted at minors simply because they’re fruit flavored. That leap in logic is flawed. Adults love those flavors as much as any kids would too.
If anything needs to be done about E-Cigs and kida, it’s this. Parents need to sit down and talk with their kids. Nothing will stop a kid once they have the want to try something; it wouldn’t matter if E-Cigs are outlawed for kids under 21, they would find a way, the same way kids always found way to cigarettes. The best way to stop a kid from trying them is to talk to them and try to get them to understand why they shouldn’t. If they don’t listen to that, then no amount of advertising or lack thereof would change a thing – they’d find a way to cigarettes. And if that’s the case anyway, wouldn’t E-Cigs be the better choice?