Monday, 21 April 2014

Tobacco control marketing and e-cigarettes

Do anti-smoking campaigns work? A recent study, published by the Society for the Study of Addiction, says that yes, anti-smoking ads are effective in lowering the odds that someone will smoke and in reducing smoking behaviour, even two months later.

In fact, the UK is a leader in tobacco control marketing, according to a 2013 report on the Tobacco Control Scale. On five of six measures (tobacco tax, smokefree places, advertising bans, health warnings and stop smoking support) the UK ranked very high, but not on public information campaigns--because the government cut spending on such marketing elements for several years. Now Public Health England has introduced a new anti-smoking campaign that shows how internal organs are damaged by smoking, with the goal of provoking a feeling of disgust that will encourage smokers to quit.

E-cigarettes are still an issue to be addressed, however. E-cigs deliver nicotine without smoke, and are often used by smokers who want to quit. Yet without long-term research, the health consequences for users are not entirely clear. Meanwhile, UK regulators are banning the sale of e-cigs to consumers under 18. And officials are warning that e-cigs can be harmful to youngsters who may try 'vaping'.

Wales is reportedly considering a ban on e-cigarettes in enclosed public places, and other areas are studying the possibilities. This may be the year that e-cigs are more highly regulated because of their increased popularity and worries that younger consumers will want to try smoking.