Adolescents' responses to the promotion and flavouring of e-cigarettes

Int J Public Health. 2016 Mar;61(2):215-24. doi: 10.1007/s00038-015-0769-5. Epub 2015 Dec 9.


Objectives: The purpose of the study is to examine adolescents' awareness of e-cigarette marketing and investigate the impact of e-cigarette flavour descriptors on perceptions of product harm and user image.

Methods: Data come from the 2014 Youth Tobacco Policy Survey, a cross-sectional in-home survey conducted with 11-16 year olds across the UK (n = 1205). Adolescents' awareness of e-cigarette promotion, brands, and flavours was assessed. Perceptions of product harm, and likely user of four examples of e-cigarette flavours was also examined.

Results: Some participants had tried e-cigarettes (12 %) but regular use was low (2 %) and confined to adolescents who had also smoked tobacco. Most were aware of at least one promotional channel (82 %) and that e-cigarettes came in different flavours (69 %). Brand awareness was low. E-cigarettes were perceived as harmful (M = 3.54, SD = 1.19) but this was moderated by product flavours. Fruit and sweet flavours were perceived as more likely to be tried by young never smokers than adult smokers trying to quit (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a need to monitor the impact of future market and regulatory change on youth uptake and perceptions of e-cigarettes.

Keywords: Adolescents; E-cigarette use; E-cigarettes; Flavours; Marketing; Promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Flavoring Agents*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom


  • Flavoring Agents