AUSTIN (KXAN) – A study conducted by the University of Texas shows the gaps in restrictions on e-cigarette marketing and how it is impacting the country’s youths.

The co-authors of the study, Dale Mantey and Dr. Maria Cooper, joined us in the KXAN studio to break-down their results. The study looks at the connections between marketing exposure and user susceptibility, especially in minors. Researchers examined four different areas of e-cigarette marketing exposure; retail settings, TV, Internet, and social media.

E-cigarette marketing spans multiple retail settings, from convince stores to gas stations. Whether it be products on display or price discounts, the marketing for e-cigs is targeting the retail consumer claiming a healthier option for a nicotine fix.

Unlike cigarette companies, e-cigs are able to air product commercials. The study shows that marketing claims are “following suit with what tobacco companies did in the 40’s to 50’s to 60’s really before any regulation was in place,” said Mantey. “They would find a way of saying nine out of 10 doctors recommend this brand of cigarettes, that’s a health claim and e-cigarettes are doing the same thing now saying these things are healthy, these things are healthier alternatives, or they’re healthy in general and there’s really no science to support that.”

Product placements are also infiltrating websites with advertisements. Additionally, e-cigs now have their own product websites where you can buy directly from the manufacturer.

“The internet is really new wild west in terms of marketing exposure for these products,” said Mantey.

The FDA has already taken a step towards extending regulatory authority over e-cigarettes by banning sales among youth under 18. However, the study says there is still more work to be done on restricting e-cig marketing.

“So we hope in the future e-cigarette marketing will be restricted the same way regular cigarettes are,” said Dr. Cooper.

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