A study points to aggressive online marketing tactics that make purchasing e-cigarettes easy for all ages, according to a study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Researchers found that 68 percent of the 57 online e-cigarette vendors they studied displayed one or more health warnings about the devices on their website. However, the notices were often depicted in smaller fonts or placed discretely in the terms and conditions section of a website.
One third of the vendors had no detectable age verification process for buyers and of those that did, most required only a simple click to say the buyer was within the legal age limit. Industry analysts estimate that online sales comprise 25 to 30 percent of the $2 billion annual e-cigarette market, which may account for a high presence of vendors on social media, said Mackey, who is also associate director of the joint master’s degree in Health Policy and Law.
“The study found that online e-cigarette vendors use a variety of sophisticated and aggressive marketing practices, including promotional offers and high social media engagement to promote the sale of their products,” said Mackey.
Mackey and team reported that 70 percent of the online vendors used more than one of the three most commonly used social media platforms: 63 percent used Twitter, 52 percent posted to Facebook and 42 percent were on Instagram.