Electronic cigarette advertising expenditures tripled in the United States from $6.4 million in 2011 to $18.3 million in 2012, according to a study by RTI International.
The study, published in the April issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first to comprehensively estimate e-cigarette ad expenditures across media channels in the United States. Researchers analyzed data from leading media companies that systematically track ad expenditures for consumer products in magazines, TV, newspapers, radio and the Internet.
"E-cigarette advertising expenditures are focusing heavily on national markets and TV ads, which will likely increase consumer awareness and use of e-cigarettes," said Annice Kim, Ph.D., senior social scientist at RTI and co-author of the study.
The study found e-cigarette ad expenditures were highest in magazines and TV and lowest in newspapers and on the Internet. The study found e-cigarette magazine ad expenditures increased from $1.4 million in 2011 to $10.8 million in 2012, while TV ad expenditures grew from $3.2 million to $5 million.
Previous research by RTI indicated that adult smokers are receptive to e-cigarette TV ads and report intention to try e-cigarettes after viewing the ads. This research suggests that the increase in e-cigarette ad expenditures, particularly TV ads, will increase the likelihood of awareness and use of e-cigarettes.
The study also found national markets were increasingly targeted; comprising 54.9 percent of e-cigarette ad buys in 2011 and increasing to 87 percent in 2012.
RTI researchers identified more than 80 unique advertised brands; however, blu eCigs, a leading e-cigarette company, accounted for 76.7 percent of all e-cigarette advertising expenditures in 2012.
"Our results suggest that federal-level efforts are needed to track e-cigarette advertising, as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission does not currently require companies to report e-cigarette ad expenditures," Kim said. "Tobacco companies are required to report their ad expenditures annually to the FTC, but there are no comparable reporting requirements for e-cigarette companies because e-cigarettes are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."
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