Washington, D.C. – American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on a new Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report, which analyzed data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), found that seven in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million youths – see e-cigarette ads from one or more media sources:
“The growing drumbeat of concern about the impact of e-cigarette advertising on young Americans just got louder. This latest CDC report carries the same message the American Heart Association has been stressing for years: More must be done if we are to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use in this country – that includes tighter regulation of e-cigarettes.
It is unacceptable that e-cigarette advertising remains unrestricted. More and more money is being poured into targeting kids at every turn. As the report shows, kids are encountering these ads virtually everywhere – in stores, online, in newspapers and magazines, and on television and in movies. And the sad truth is, it’s working. The 2014 NYTS survey revealed e-cigarette use has tripled among U.S. teens.
What’s worse is that we have not wised up to these advertising tactics that have been shown to cause youth to start using those products. This is not the first time tobacco product companies have set their sights on such a susceptible audience as kids. These highly convincing e-cigarette ads use the same themes as cigarette ads of the past. The tried-and-true methods to attract a new generation to tobacco must be reined in. Otherwise, more and more young Americans will put themselves at risk for heart disease, stroke or even an early death as a result of taking up tobacco in any form.
With the slew of studies and reports highlighting the negative ramifications of this type of marketing to youth, the question remains: Why is it still unregulated? We agree with the report’s analysis that steps need to be taken to keep these products out of the hands of children and adolescents. That’s yet another reason why final regulations are needed now.”