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Marisa de Andrade. Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling & UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.

This presentation considers the findings of a systematic analysis of media coverage of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from May 2012 to June 2013 combined with an analysis of seven brands’ content on social networking platforms. It reflects on how e-cigarettes have the potential to deliver public health gain, but the unfettered commercial exploitation and marketing may be undermining public heath gains in three ways:

  1. By pulling young people into the market. E-cigarettes are being promoted as lifestyle accessories, using a combination of evocative advertising, sponsorship and celebrity endorsement. This has an appeal to young people.
  2. By undermining wider tobacco control policies. The visual similarity between conventional and electronic cigarettes, and between smoking and vaping, means that e-cigarette advertising and point-of-sale activity can easily be mistaken for (the now outlawed) tobacco promotion. Similarly the promotion of dual usage undermines one of the key health benefits of smokefree legislation – the stimulus it gives smokers to quit.
  3. By jeopardising Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC. The tobacco industry is moving into the e-cigarette market and using harm reduction to build links with public health, policymakers and other stakeholders.

Marisa de Andrade is an Impact Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, part of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. She has a PhD in pharmaceutical regulation/public health policy and led on the Cancer Research UK funded work on the marketing of electronic cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction research priorities/policy directions. Mentored by Prof Gerard Hastings, she works on several projects on media representation of scientific information, commercial sector involvement in health policy and community engagement through innovative methods using asset-based approaches. She worked as a broadcaster and journalist before entering academia.