Collection: Targeting Teens
Sponsorship of music and sporting events and the free distribution of cigarette products to lure teenagers to try the product was a technique often used by cigarette companies till tobacco branded sponsorship and the associated distribution of free samples were banned by the Tobacco Control Act. However, in the absence of regulation, electronic cigarette (e-cig) companies are adopting this ploy to target teens. For instance, the top 6 e-cig companies in 2012 to 2013, provided free samples at 348 events, many of which appear geared toward youth.
In order to lure youth to try the product, samples are distributed at popular music concerts, outside stores that are obviously teen-oriented, and even during the Superbowl. Various props are used to make the sampling more appealing. For instance, Vita Cigs offered free samples to passersby outside a store of the retail apparel giant “Forever 21.” The roadshow van closely resembled an ice-cream truck. Logic offered free samples along with free macaroons, and NJOY had a slew of sexy, well-toned, beach boys handing out their samples. The offer of free samples is well promoted through e-cig brands’ social media channels. Photos of the sampling events are posted on the various social media channels.
The deeming regulations proposed by the FDA in early 2014, proposed a ban on the distribution of free samples. However, given that the regulations may not come into effect for at least a year or two, it gives e-cig companies several opportunities to continue to get yet another generation of teens nicotine addicted.