Cigarette advertising has been banned for decades from our TV monitors so it is no wonder why the recent launch of commercials featuring electronic cigarettes has caused such a stir. This generation is the first to see smoking devices being promoted on TV and the major electronic cigarette brands are taking advantage on the chance of using publicity to bring their products to a wider audience.
From their humble origins as independent, almost rebellious devices that have been battling against the opposition of health organizations (which haven’t really bothered to carry out serious research on them) and large tobacco and pharmaceutical corporations that see them as a threat, electronic cigarettes have earned a level of popularity that has made them a profitable business. In spite of the attacks from the tobacco industry, that naturally saw e-cigarettes as a dangerous competitor and the pharmaceutical companies, which felt that these devices could jeopardize their monopoly of the anti-smoking aids market, electronic cigarettes have been able to survive the hostility and have spawned an industry on its own.
While it is understandable that many anti-smoking campaigners have their reservations about e-cigarettes, given the fact that they would prefer to see people trying to stop smoking completely instead of replacing tobacco products with these vaping devices, it cannot be denied that e-cigarettes can play an important role in helping smokers to satisfy their cravings so that they can get prepared to leave cigarettes behind.
E-cigs allow smokers to make the transition towards abstinence gradually and unlike traditional nicotine replacements such as gum and patches, they target two important aspects of addiction: habit and sensation. Electronic cigarettes recreate the feeling that smokers get from a regular cigarette, thanks to their appearance and the vapour they release, which resembles smoke. Of course, there are still concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes and more research is required. However, there is no conclusive evidence to say that e-cigs are toxic, therefore they can still be seen as an alternative that could potentially help smokers to reduce the impact of smoking on their health.
Now that electronic cigarettes have shown that they are much more than a novelty gadget, they have reached an interesting stage in which many brands are competing to earn customers with exciting offers and launching creative advertising campaigns. It is expected that if stricter regulations are put in place, the smaller companies and those who have not stepped up their game, may disappear. The positive side of this possible outcome is that the companies that are left, would be those who can comply with higher standards of quality.
TV advertisement of electronic cigarettes is only another step in the road towards a mainstream “acceptance” of electronic cigarettes in our society. While they will still face challenges as the foundations for stricter regulation may be set and stronger opposition may appear, the reality is that they have achieved a point in which they are a familiar product for people that do not even smoke. Nowadays, it is very common to see vapers in the streets and more people are aware of the existence of e-cigarettes and they may even have a notion of the differences between these devices and regular cigarettes.
Media exposure is somehow validating these devices and to certain extent, neutralizing the image of smokers, making them appear again as people that are struggling with an addiction, while looking for an option that is not as dangerous to them and those around you as regular tobacco cigs. The benefit of seeing more TV campaigns featuring e-cigarettes is that they can contribute to extend the debate about these devices to include people that are just finding out about them and trying to understand better their pros and cons.