The use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among teenagers. E-cigarettes are marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, but they are not without risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that e-cigarette use can lead to addiction, lung injury, and exposure to harmful chemicals. In an effort to reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes to young people, some countries are considering standardized packaging for these products. A recent survey study conducted in Great Britain suggests that such packaging may indeed help deter kids from using e-cigarettes, while still maintaining their appeal among adults trying to quit smoking.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, involved 2,469 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 and 12,046 adults. Participants were shown three e-cigarette packs from one of three different packaging designs: fully branded packs, white standardized packs with brand name, or green standardized packs with brand name. The green packaging was given an olive green color to mimic a similar standardized packaging for traditional cigarettes, while the white was chosen based on previous data showing that tobacco products in light-colored packaging were sometimes seen as less harmful by consumers.
Among the youth participants, those shown e-cigarettes with standardized green packaging were significantly less likely to report interest in trying them compared with branded packaging. However, this was not significant when youths were shown white standardized packaging versus branded packaging. Adult consumers, on the other hand, had lower odds of reporting no interest in trying the green-packaged e-cigarettes compared with branded packaging. Notably, youths who had never vaped or smoked were more likely to report no interest in trying e-cigarettes in green packaging compared with branded packaging.
The findings of this study suggest that reducing brand imagery through standardized e-cigarette packaging is associated with decreased appeal of e-cigarette products among youths, specifically never smokers and never vapers, without reducing its appeal among adult smokers. However, the study was limited to Great Britain, and it remains to be seen whether similar results would be found in other countries.
Standardized packaging may be a promising strategy for reducing the appeal of e-cigarettes to young people, while still maintaining their appeal among adults trying to quit smoking. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this approach and whether it should be implemented in other countries.
- What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, also known as vaping, are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid (usually containing nicotine) to produce an aerosol, which is inhaled.
- Are e-cigarettes safe?
No, e-cigarettes are not safe. They can lead to addiction, lung injury, and exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Why are young people attracted to e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are often marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, and their packaging and flavors may be appealing to young people.
- What is standardized packaging?
Standardized packaging refers to packaging that has uniform design, including color and font, with no branding or logos.
- Does Great Britain allow the sale of e-cigarettes to minors?
No, Great Britain does not allow the sale of e-cigarettes or tobacco products to consumers under 18.