As the conventional tobacco industry continues to get demonized over predatory marketing practices and concern grows over the ill-effects of smoking, e-cigarette (e-cig)manufacturers have lost no opportunity in selling their products as a “safe” and “healthy” alternative. As Njoy claimed in its commercial "the most amazing thing about this cigarette is, it isn't one."
Many e-cig brand names and advertising messages contain reassuring phrases that imply no harm and sometimes even medical benefits. Examples of e-cigs with reassuring brand names include Safe-cigs, Lung Buddy, iBreathe, and E-HealthCigs. In addition ads and packages for e-cigs contains reassuring phrases such as “safe,” “healthier, “cancer cure” “vitamin rich,” “light,” “mild, ” “intelligent,” “no smoker’s cough or phlegm,” and “better stamina.” Ads in this theme run the gamut from the shock inducing Flavor Vapes ad which shows a mother blow e-cig vapor into her baby’s carriage and Ever Smoke’s “Save A Life. Save A Lung. Save a Boob” to the mundane.
Advertising of nicotine based products is coming a full circle as most of the strategies employed by the e-cig industry today has been tried by the combustible cigarette industry until it was regulated. More than 85 years ago, the Federal Trade Commission regulated the combustible tobacco industry and prohibited it from making weight loss claims, 5o years ago, the same agency prohibited it from using the images of doctors and nurses to sell its products, and 5 years ago the Food and Drug Administration prohibited the industry from using descriptors such as mild, light, ultra etc. that subliminally suggested that using such a product reduced the harm for the consumer. In April 2014, seven years after e-cigs were introduced in the United States, the Federal Drug Administration has proposed regulations that will restrict health claims made by the e-cig industry. If the regulations are approved, e-cig companies will no longer be allowed to make health claims unless approved by the regulatory agency to make “direct or indirect claims” of reduced risk.
It may follow that like the tobacco industry, while the letter of the law may be followed, the intent of regulation is often subverted.”