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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long railed against cigarette smoking and tobacco companies. But with their latest ad campaign, the CDC is now targeting something else: electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.The print and radio ads mark the first time that e-cigarettes have been mentioned in an anti-smoking ad, much to the ire of the […]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long railed against cigarette smoking and tobacco companies. But with their latest ad campaign, the CDC is now targeting something else: electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.
The print and radio ads mark the first time that e-cigarettes have been mentioned in an anti-smoking ad, much to the ire of the vaping industry.
As part of the “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, which started in 2012, one of the spots features a woman named Kristy alongside a caption that says, “I started using e-cigarettes but kept smoking. Right up until my lung collapsed.”
Remaining ads for the campaign, which will run for 20 weeks and cost $50 million, will focus on traditional cigarettes instead.
However, Tim McAfee, senior medical officer at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, draws a distinction between using e-cigs alone (also known as vaping) or in conjunction with smoking. “Our core message is cutting down [on smoking] is not sufficient,” he said, as opposed to quitting entirely.
In 2014, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, a peer-reviewed publication, published a study that estimated that three out of four people who use e-cigarettes haven’t quit smoking. Health officials also say that e-cigarette marketing could entice children and teens to vape.
Yet proponents of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, which are smokeless devices, often say that this isn’t true. E-cigarettes are commonly used to help smokers quit.
A focus on e-cigarettes could also harm small businesses. According to the Smoke-Free Alternative Trade Association, there are around 16,000 vape shops in the United States, many of which are small businesses that specialize in selling unique vaporizers and custom blends of e-liquid.
This isn’t the first time a government agency has targeted e-cigarettes. Last week, the state government in California launched a $7 million media campaign against vaping.
The TV, online and outdoor ads refer to e-cigarettes as “brought to you by the people who brought you lung cancer.” Two months prior to the ads, California health officials named e-cigarettes as a health risk.
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