It has taken three generations of anti-smoking campaigns to finally make smoking uncool. My son (age 7) asks, “why would someone do that? It seems kind of stupid.” I laugh and think to myself, “what a different world it was in the 70′s and 80′s when I grew up.” Smoking was cool back then. Movie stars did it. Rock stars did it. The “cool” kids did it. Then, finally, something sunk in. Why would you voluntarily inhale burning leaves? After all, people in house fires are sent to the emergency room with “smoke inhalation” and could potentially die! So after many years of anti-smoking campaigns on TV, in ads, at school, kids are FINALLY getting it. Smoking is stupid and doesn’t make sense. Until now…enter the e-cig.
I just read and viewed the most disturbing, unethical, money grubbing, loop hole in the law, piece of trash marketing plan I can remember in my 40 years! Both RJR (maker of Camel, Pall Mall and Winston cigarettes) and Blu e-cigs have found a loop hole in the ban on TV ads for cigarettes and tobacco products. So they will be marketing their e-cig products via TV commercials, making the products look cool and distinguished, undoing all efforts to keep kids away from such products.
How did they do it? The products use vapor, not burning plant material, therefore they are not a “smoking” product. The vapor contains highly addictive nicotine, so once kids try it, they may be hooked for life, spending tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime purchasing these products (approx current cost is +$5.00/day). Just what Big Tobacco envisions! Even more disturbing (as if RJR hadn’t learned the first time) they are claiming that marketing is not geared toward kids. Really? Then why make nicotine packed vapor flavors like vanilla, peach, pina colada cherry and the like? It is a definite, indirect sell to kids via TV ads.
The TV ads –definitely not adult only. You have movie stars like Stephen Dorff, who played in “The Power of One,” a movie about a boy who wanted to change the world, among many other films likely watched by teens such as Blade, FeardotCom, Carjacked, and more. View the commercial here. Makes it look cool, right? How about an endorsement from female star DJ HEAVYGRINDER (click here to view ad) and her over 1 million followers – which I am certain are not in the adult demographic!
RJR has not release any TV ads, to my knowledge, for their Vuse e-cig product, but they are coming.
What makes matters even worse, is that since these products do not leave a lingering odor, because it is water vapor not smoke, kids could be using them and you will not smell it in their room or on their breath or clothes.
So what are parents to do? Talk to them! Communication is key. I have already spoken with my son about e-cigs and that even though they are not a “burning” cigarette, they are still harmful to your health, especially the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Parents can also contact their US government representatives (click here) and voice your concerns of this underhanded business practice by Big Tobacco to reap billions of dollars from our children.
Help spread the word an put a stop to the potentially largest scourge to hit youth since the cigarette!