Targeting Teens With Misleading Advertising Helped Create An Epidemic
Not only is the nicotine in e-cigarettes highly addictive (a single e-cigarette pod can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes), there are also very serious concerns over the long-term health effects of aerosolizing nicotine and other chemicals. The additives that e-cigarettes contain — heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead, ultrafine particles that are ingested deep into the lungs, and flavorants, such as diacetyl — a chemical linked to serious lung disease – are all a cause for concern.
Although e-cigarettes were said to be created to help people stop smoking (all the while hiding the extensive harmful effects of vaping), JUUL, the leading manufacturer of e-cigarettes, and its competitors conducted intense marketing campaigns targeting youth and young adults who had no history of cigarette use. In fact, the company created campaigns on Instagram and other social media sites that heavily target teens – selling flavors like mango, cucumber, fruit, and creme brulee.
Although some of the e-cigarettes resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, others are disguised to look like pens or USB memory sticks, adding to their intrigue and ability to be hidden away from unknowing parents.