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ENDS advertising expenditures in English language media in the USA, 2015–2020

Abstract

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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