Cartoon characters hawking candy flavors can encourage nonsmoking teens to vape or smoke
Roberto Herrett/Alamy Stock Photo
In the United States, cartoon characters are a no-no in cigarette ads, and candy- or fruit-flavored cigarettes can’t be sold. But that’s not the case for e-cigarettes, and these youth-appealing tactics are luring teens who have never used tobacco products to give e-cigs and even cigarettes a try, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed surveys of nearly 7,000 kids ages 12 to 17 who had never used a tobacco product as of 2013 to 2014. Teens who recalled seeing or liking e-cigarette ads were 1.6 times as likely to be open to trying e-cigs or to actually try them the next year as kids who didn’t remember the ads, researchers report online March 26 in JAMA Pediatrics. E-cig ads often feature celebrities, cartoons (one product shows a unicorn vomiting a rainbow) or references to sweet flavors, such as Skittles.
Past research has shown a link between