Background Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) advertising is associated with ENDS purchase and use. This study assessed trends in ENDS advertisement (ad) expenditures in the USA from 2015 to 2020 overall, by media channel and by advertiser.
Methods Data came from Numerator, which conducts surveillance of ads and estimates expenditures. The estimates are dollars spent (adjusted to 2020) by the advertiser for each ad occurrence for print, radio, television and digital (online, mobile) media channels. ENDS ad expenditures were assessed by quarter, media channel and the top five advertisers based on ad occurrences.
Results Overall ENDS ad expenditures increased from $38 million in 2015 to $217 million in 2019 before decreasing to a low of $22 million in 2020. By media channel, print expenditures led the channels with more than twice as much spent as television, four times more than radio and 10 times more than digital. By advertiser, JUUL led in ENDS ad expenditures from 2015 to 2020 with almost $189 million spent, followed by British American Tobacco (BAT, $105 million) and Imperial Tobacco ($62 million).
Conclusions Overall ad expenditures were relatively stable from 2015 to mid-2018 when large expenditures by JUUL and subsequent expenditures by BAT and Imperial Tobacco led to expenditure highs in 2019. E-cigarette and vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI), the JUUL self-imposed ad suspension and COVID-19 likely all played a role in advertising lows in 2020. The absence of popular Puff Bar brand ads from the traditional media channels studied highlights the importance of monitoring direct and indirect advertising on newer media channels like social media.
- Electronic nicotine delivery devices
- Advertising and Promotion
- Tobacco industry
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Contributors Study conception and design: KW, KLM, SMT, RDK. Data cleaning: KW, LJ. Data analysis: KW. Draft manuscript preparation: KW, LJ. Manuscript review and feedback: all authors.
Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by the Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation at Johns Hopkins University grant (5U01FD005942) from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).
Disclaimer The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Food and Drug Administration.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.