Article Text

S78 Electronic cigarette advertising impacts adversely on smoking behaviour within a London student cohort: a cross-sectional survey
  1. C Ratneswaran1,
  2. R Judge2,
  3. M Colquhoun1,
  4. J Steier3,
  5. TK Khong1
  1. 1St George’s, University of London, London, UK
  2. 2Kingston University, London, UK
  3. 3Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK


Introduction In contrast to tobacco smoking, electronic cigarette (“vaping”) advertisement has been approved in the UK since January 2013. Currently, there are 2.6 million e-cigarette users in the UK. The impact of e-cigarette advertisement on tobacco use has not been studied in detail. We hypothesised that e-cigarette advertisement impacts on smoking behaviour.

Methods A structured survey was constructed to assess the impact of e-cigarette advertising on the perceived social acceptability of cigarette smoking; and, on trying both cigarettes and e-cigarettes (on a scale of 1 to 5/‘not at all’ to ‘a great deal’). The survey was administered between January to March 2015 to London university students, before and after viewing 5 UK adverts including a TV commercial.

Results Data were collected from 106 participants (22 ± 2 years, 66%male), comprising 34 current cigarette-smokers, 57 non-smokers and 15 ex-smokers. There were 17 vapers, 82 non-vapers and 7 ex-vapers. After viewing the adverts, both smokers (2.6 ± 1.0 vs 3.8 ± 1.1, p = 0.0002) and non-smokers (3.2 ± 0.7 vs 3.7 ± 0.8, p = 0.004) felt e-cigarette advertising increased the social acceptability of smoking; and, both smokers and non-smokers were more likely to try e-cigarettes (3.6 ± 1.0 and 2.6 ± 1.0 respectively, p < 0.0001) as well as conventional cigarettes (3.4 ± 1.0 and 1.5 ± 0.9 respectively, p < 0.0001). Additionally after viewing, vapers felt e-cigarettes were ‘less effective’ at helping people stop smoking compared to before (3.6 ± 0.7 vs 4.0 ± 0.6, p = 0.004).

Conclusion E-cigarette advertising encourages e-cigarette and conventional cigarette use in young smokers and non-smokers. The adverts impact on the social acceptability of smoking without regarding the importance of smoking cessation.

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