March 23, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
Twenty-five years after launching the first anti-smoking advertisements in the state, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new series this week of television, digital and outdoor ads, all highlighting the dangers of e-cigarettes, a practice commonly known as “vaping.”
With one of the lowest smoking rates in the nation, California has been a leader with its aggressive anti-smoking campaigns, but the aggressive marketing and escalating use of e-cigarettes threatens to erode this progress.
CDPH recently released a report and a health advisory highlighting areas of concern regarding e-cigarettes, including the sharp rise in e-cigarette use among California teens and young adults, the highly addictive nature of nicotine in e-cigarettes, the surge in accidental nicotine poisonings occurring in young children and the many toxic chemicals found in secondhand e-cigarette emissions. Research shows that youth and young adults who use e-cigarettes are far more likely to also use traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The campaign includes two television ads that feature images portraying the health risks of e-cigarettes. One TV ad underscores the e-cigarette industry’s use of candy flavored “e-juice” and products that entice the next generation to become addicted to nicotine. The second TV spot emphasizes the dangers and addictiveness of e-cigarettes, while exposing the fact that big tobacco companies are in the e-cigarette business. E-cigarettes are largely unregulated at the federal level, while companies are not required to disclose what is in their products or how they are made.
The ad campaign will run from March 23 through June 2015, with TV and digital ads on websites, online radio and social media throughout the state. Outdoor ads, including billboards, at gas stations and in malls, and ads in movie theaters will be phased in throughout the campaign. The California Medical Association's headquarters in Sacramento also showcases the ads on its brick walls. This counter e-cigarette advertising campaign is part of CDPH’s ongoing anti-tobacco media efforts.
In addition to advertising, CDPH’s educational campaign will include:
- Partnering with local public health, medical and child care organizations to increase awareness about the known toxicity of e-cigarettes and the high risk of poisonings, especially to children, while continuing to promote and support the use of proven effective cessation therapies.
- Joining with the California Department of Education and school officials to assist in providing accurate information to parents, students, teachers and school administrators on the dangers of e-cigarettes.
The California Tobacco Control Program was established by the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988. The act, approved by California voters, instituted a 25-cent tax on each pack of cigarettes and earmarked five cents of that tax to fund California’s tobacco control efforts. California’s tobacco control efforts have reduced both adult and youth smoking rates by 50 percent, saved more than one million lives and have resulted in $134 billion worth of savings in health care costs. Learn more at TobaccoFreeCA.com.