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Pac-Man on a vape: electronic cigarettes that target youth as handheld multimedia and gaming devices
  1. Man Wong,
  2. Prue Talbot
  1. Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Prue Talbot, Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, USA; talbot{at}ucr.edu

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Electronic cigarette (EC) manufacturers are now turning fourth-generation ECs into functional gaming devices. Emerging ECs have high-definition (HD) displays with built-in digital games, such as Pac-Man (figures 1–3). These ECs are of particular concern, as they are user-friendly, attractive to youth and may couple nicotine addiction with gaming disorders. One of these products has gone viral on social media and currently has over 12 million views (figure 1). Some emerging ECs also have features found in smart devices (phones, tablets and watches), such as HD touchscreens, photo wallpapers, customisable displays, ‘find my device’, bluetooth, speakers, wireless charging and voice recognition figure 4A-I, which may further entice youth by resembling mobile devices.1 These multifunctional ECs are available in vape shops and online and cost roughly the same as traditional ECs, making them accessible to youth.2

Figure 1

Viral tweet of Craftbox V-Play screen captured on 18 April 2024. The tweet amassed 11.7 million views in 3 days and shows a Pac-Man-like game being played on the V-Play with the caption ‘pac man on a vape is insane’ (https://twitter.com/slvppy/status/1780043077383766047).

Figure 2

Screen captures from online distributors selling Craftbox V-Play and AiRMEZ Matrix disposable vapes. (A) Craftbox V-Play: the device on the left shows the vaping interface in ‘REGULAR MODE’ (lower wattage mode). The interface resembles video game animations. The other two devices display a Tetris-like (middle) and Pac-man-like …

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Footnotes

  • X @Talbot_Lab_UCR

  • Contributors MW and PT contributed to the conceptualisation. MW collected data on products and wrote the first manuscript draft. MW and PT finalised the manuscript.

  • Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by NIEHS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) grant # 1R56ES034792. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the FDA.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.