Objectives: E-cigarettes are not FDA-approved smoking cessation aids. Nevertheless, content analyses have shown that e-cigarette companies make claims about cessation efficacy. Some advertisements are explicit (directly mentioning their product can help smokers quit or stop smoking), while others are implicit (not containing cessation-related language, but implying cessation efficacy through subtle wording and imagery). This is the first study to examine directly how adolescents and young adults (AYAs) perceived these ads, and specifically whether they identify the cessation claims in e-cigarette advertisements.
Methods: 248 AYAs in California viewed 4 e-cigarette advertisements with cessation claims, then selected claims made by each advertisement. Descriptive statistics and multi-level logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between the type of claims and perception.
Results: The claim "helps me quit smoking" was most frequently selected after viewing advertisements with explicit cessation claims, but not after viewing implicit claims. No significant effect of tobacco use and age on claim selection was observed.
Conclusions: E-cigarette manufacturers make claims about cessation efficacy, and AYAs can identify such claims in advertisements, especially the explicit ones. FDA should regulate these advertisements as making therapeutic claims.
Keywords: adolescents and young adults; cessation claim; e-cigarette advertisements; e-cigarette perceptions; tobacco marketing.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflict of Interest Statement All authors of this article declare they have no conflicts of interest.
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