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E-cigarette Static Advertisements: Characteristics and Marketing Strategies

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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the content characteristics and marketing strategies of static e-cigarette advertisements (ads) that may impact youth use. Methods: Static e-cigarette ads from print and online media sources were gathered using MarketTrack's Competitrack from 2015 to 2016. Two individuals independently coded ads using an instrument based on previous work. Descriptive analyses overall and by the top 6 brands were performed. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify unobserved ad groupings using media source and content characteristics as predictors. Results: Ads obtained (N = 748) were primarily from online sources (>80%) representing over 60 brands. Blu (15%) and Vapor4Life (13%) were the most frequent brands. Promotion of flavored products, technology/device characteristics, references to "taste," price, and financial incentives were common (>20% each). Health disclaimers (10%) and age restrictions (14%) were infrequent. LCA results indicated 5 unique ad groups that differed by primary media source (eg, opt-in email vs print-based) and specific ad characteristics including promotion of flavored products versus financial incentives. Conclusions: Findings highlight common ad characteristics as well as those that distinguish between latent ad groups. These ad characteristics represent future regulatory targets aimed to impact e-cigarette use .
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 2020

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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