Some electronic cigarette (e-cig) companies are attempting to stand out from the crowd by emphasizing their safety. Some companies make their association with safety directly through their brand names. The most prominent example is the brand “SafeCig”, manufactured by SafeCig, LLC. Similarly the company JoeStick markets and sells their product through the website smokesafely.com.
The claim of safety is also made in slogans and taglines. Charlie Sheen’s e-cig brand ran the slogan “Sheen Safe Smoke”. Steamz claim their devices are “90% safer than traditional cigarettes”. In 2013 the brand Vogue ran the tagline “Safe and Healthy.”
A rather ironic ad is that from NeWhere. The ad shows an ECG heart tracing which flatlines after a number of normal beats. In a traditional ECG this would suggest that the heart had stopped beating. Over this horizontal line is the slogan “Is Vaping Safe?” The NeWhere blog, which accompanies this picture goes on to explain that that e-cigs are definitely “safer” than traditional cigarettes.
The advertising of e-cigs as safe is a particularly interesting technique considering there have been reports about e-cigs exploding. 1,2 The availability of sweetened nicotine-based e-cig juices in homes has also led to a rapid increase to calls in poison control centers, with more than half of the calls involving children below the age of 5 years.
(1) York Press. E-Cigarette explodes and sets fire to a barmaid. The Press. Apr 2014. Available from: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11133501.Barmaid_s_lucky_escape_as_e_cigarette_explodes_in_packed_pub/
(2) Parker L, Green R. Small Number of E-Cigarette Batteries Explode. NBC Chicago. Oct 2013. Available from: http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Exploding-E-Cigarettes-229183561.html
(3) CDC poison call centers: New CDC study finds dramatic increase in e-cigarette-related calls to poison centers. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0403-e-cigarette-poison.html