EU raises concerns about e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids
Although there’s mixed evidence about the safety of vaping, some studies suggest that it could be a helpful aid for anyone wanting to quit smoking as it’s more effective than other methods.
However, it seems that the industry is increasingly trying to reach out to younger audiences. In recent years, companies have been accused of using appealing flavors like strawberry, vanilla, candy, and watermelon, along with brightly colored, modern designs to attract teenagers and young adults, despite e-cigarettes originally being aimed at adults who already smoke.
Now, a new range of e-cigarettes shaped like cartoon characters means concerns are being raised in Spain, and Spain’s National Committee for Smoking Prevention warned that the public should be alarmed about the risk it could pose to teenagers and even younger children.
The e-cigarettes are designed to look like toys, and they can easily be bought from the online store. In addition to this, there aren’t any health warnings and the store doesn’t mention anything about age restrictions or that they’re not suitable for minors.
In some EU counties, such as the Netherlands, there have been restrictions put in place on marketing practices for e-cigarettes, as well as banning the sale of some flavors.
But, the EU Tobacco Products Directive doesn’t cover nicotine replacement products, so the restrictions on tobacco marketing don’t apply, and Spain’s Tobacco Act also allows it. This means that the company is free to design the packaging as creatively as they want.
The EU has the highest rates of smoking in the world, with 28% of the population being current smokers. Health advocates have been campaigning for vaping to be rolled out more widely as a way to reduce cigarette consumption and reduce some of the risks.
However, these experts agree that vaping should only be aimed at adults wanting to quit smoking. It’s now becoming a way for young people to try nicotine, with some kids as young as 11 now trying e-cigarettes and even more trying it by 14-16.
In Spain, the Health Ministry claimed the problem is down to the “inadequacy of current regulations for the increased supply of new products” and the exposure of “particularly the young population to new forms of nicotine consumption”.