Research carried out by the University of Cambridge for the UK’s Department of Health has raised concerns that the sale of certain flavoured e-cigarettes will encourage children to try them.
According to the research, which looked at the use of e-cigarettes among children and teenagers, it found that children who were shown ads for the sweet-flavoured variety, showed a much greater interest in buying them.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids to under 18s, but Milica Vasiljevic, from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, is concerned that children will be encouraged to try the candy-flavoured ones.
"We’re cautiously optimistic from our results that e-cigarette ads don’t make tobacco smoking more attractive, but we’re concerned that ads for e-cigarettes with flavours that might appeal to school children could encourage them to try the products,” Milica explained.
While the Committee on Advertising Practice has issued new rules concerning the use of ads, they don’t include prohibitions on sweet flavours, something the researchers want rectified.
“The results of the current study support the imminent changes in EU regulations surrounding the marketing of e-cigarettes, but raise questions about the need for further regulation regarding the content of products with high appeal to children,” warned the researchers.
"More research is needed to examine both the short and long-term impact of e-cigarette advertising, as well as the link between e-cigarette use and tobacco smoking."