The anti-smoking body in Victoria, Quit Victoria, has called out the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes in Australia arguing it is actually luring people back to real cigarettes.
A recent study by the Australian Cancer Council, that surveyed 800 Australian ex-smokers, found that far from dissuade people from smoking, e-cigarette advertising worked in the opposite way, encouraging people to take-up or crave tobacco.
The study found that e-cigarette advertising – seen online and or TV – often used the same gimmicks and themes used by tobacco ads. A quarter of all ex-smokers who viewed an e-cigarette ad felt an urge to use tobacco. Many e-cigarette products are actually manufactured by tobacco companies.
A recent American study into the marketing of e-cigarettes found the ads were often overly glamorous and aimed at teens with the inevitable aim of making the tobacco smokers. The study’s author Dr Michael Khoury said: “While e-cigarettes are frequently used as devices for smoking cessation in adults, we found most students in our survey (including 47.8 per cent of those who recently smoked cigarettes) were motivated by the “cool/fun/something new” features of e-cigarettes.”
Quit Victoria’s director, Dr Sarah White, said the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes in Australia was contrary to the universal anti-tobacco message of the past few decades and was pedalling a message that had been banned in Australia since the 80s.
Dr White told news.com.au: “Some of these ads look very much like people using a cigarette, (and) probably just watching people using that motion doesn’t help former smokers suppress their urges.
“We have lost hundreds of thousands of people to cigarettes, we have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to help people get off cigarettes that kill two out of three people, we have legislation in place to help people get off cigarettes, so we need to keep watch we are not letting something else come through that plays on the similarities,” she said.