Introduction Young adults new to tobacco (including e-cigarettes) are at an increased risk of e-cigarette use after e-cigarette exposure. This study examined the association between noticing e-cigarette advertising features and perceived product appeal among non-tobacco-using young adults.
Methods A sample of non-tobacco-using young adults (ages 18–29 years; n=1993) completed an online survey in 2021. We content analysed visible features from 12 e-cigarette ads that represented commonly used e-cigarette brands. Participants viewed the ads and clicked on the areas of the ads that drew their attention. Participants reported e-cigarette product appeal for each ad, including ad liking, product curiosity and use interest. We used generalised estimating equations to examine within-person associations between noticing specific ad features and reporting each and any type of product appeal, adjusting for noticing other features and participant characteristics.
Results Noticing people, discounts, non-tobacco (menthol and mint/fruit) flavours, positive experience claims or product images was positively associated with having any e-cigarette product appeal. Noticing discounts or mint/fruit flavours was also positively associated with e-cigarette use interest. In contrast, noticing nicotine warnings or smoking cessation claims was negatively associated with ad liking and product curiosity.
Conclusions Attention to several e-cigarette ad features (eg, people, discounts, non-tobacco flavours) was associated with increased e-cigarette product appeal, whereas attention to nicotine warnings and smoking cessation claims was associated with reduced appeal among non-tobacco-using young adults. Restricting appeal-promoting features while strengthening the effects of nicotine warnings and smoker-targeted claims in e-cigarette ads may potentially reduce e-cigarettes’ overall appeal among this priority population.
- advertising and promotion
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Twitter @JuliaChenSankey, @owackowski, @_meghannnnnnnn, @ryan_david, @kianajadehacker, @tckelvinchoi
Contributors Concept and design—JC-S. Acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data—all authors. Drafting of the manuscript—JC-S. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content—all authors. Statistical analysis—JC-S. Obtained funding—JC-S and KC. Administrative, technical or material support—JC-S and KC. Supervision and guarantor—JC-S.
Funding This study was funded by NCI and FDA grant number R00CA242589 (PI: JC-S). JC-S, MJ and OW are supported in part by NCI and FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) under U54CA229973. JC-S is also supported in part by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey under P30CA072720. MJ is additionally supported in part by NCI under K01CA242591. OW is additionally supported by NCI under R37CA222002. KH and KC are supported by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. MBM holds an Innovation in Regulatory Science Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund which in part supports her and RK’s effort. Comments and opinions expressed belong to the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the US Government, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, or the US Food and Drug Administration.
Competing interests MBM holds an Innovation in Regulatory Science Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund which in part supports her and RK’s effort. MBM has served as a paid expert witness in litigation sponsored by the Public Health Advocacy Institute against RJ Reynolds. This arrangement has been reviewed and approved by the Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.