It's Back To The Future For E-Cigarette Ads, At Least For Now | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

It's Back To The Future For E-Cigarette Ads, At Least For Now

E-cigarettes are a booming business among smokers who want to light up indoors, smokers who want to quit and, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month, among children.

And right now, e-cigarette-makers have a tremendous amount of latitude in the U.S. to market those products as they choose, even on television, where traditional cigarette ads have been banned since 1971.

That's because the Food and Drug Administration has not yet determined whether e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine to the lungs through a battery-generated vapor rather than via tobacco smoke, should be considered tobacco products — with all the regulation that designation entails. The agency is expected to make its determination as early as this month.

In the meantime, "the marketing that you're seeing in these cigarettes now, it's the wild west," Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, tells NPR's Melissa Block on All Things Considered. "They're using celebrities, movies, television — it's just like getting into a time machine."

Perhaps some readers will remember those heady, hazy days, when TV was filled with ads touting cigarettes' health benefits, as the center of a refreshing set break for John Wayne — even as part of a wholesome breakfast:

Not surprisingly, today's e-cigarette ads look a lot slicker than their midcentury tobacco cousins. Actors Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy crank up the sex appeal in their advertisements for Blu eCigs, owned by Lorillard, which manufactures Kent and Newport tobacco cigarettes. At the bar, McCarthy says, "I can whip out my Blu, and not worry about scaring that special someone away."

And FIN electronic cigarette's national television spot goes for a stylish smash-up of vintage and modern, complete with a retro-looking diner waitress.

Andries Verleur, co-founder of VMR Products, which makes V2 Cigs, told Bloomberg News that the industry does expect the FDA will eventually clamp down on e-cigarette advertising.

As Mitchell Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, told Shots, the jury's still out on the health effects of e-cigarettes. But, for now, as NJoy King put it in its TV ad that ran during the Super Bowl in February, "the most amazing thing about this cigarette is, it isn't one."

At least, not yet.

You can hear more about the e-cigarette industry in Melissa Block's story on Monday's All Things Considered.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Dec. 25

Merry Christmas from Art Beat! Two shows keep the holiday festivities going through the weekend.

NPR

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced it was going into the milk business. In fact, its extra-nutritious milk product was invented by some dairy farmers in Indiana.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.