WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is launching an ad campaign that warns against the dual use of electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, reported Reuters. While most experts agree that e-cigarettes are likely safer than traditional cigarettes, data shows approximately 75 percent of adult e-cigarette users smoke both kinds of products.
"If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks," the CDC said in a statement. "Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health — even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous."
The print and radio ads, which will begin running March 30, feature 35-year-old Kristy, who turned to e-cigarettes to quit smoking but ended up using both products. She then suffered a collapsed lung and was diagnosed with a chronic lung disease before quitting entirely.
The new ad campaign builds on the CDC's 2012 "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign.
Data on smokers' use of both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes could potentially affect the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed regulation of e-cigarettes, the final version of which is expected in June. The FDA initially proposed reviewing new products before they can be sold and prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
"Unfortunately, there continues to be a lack of vapor industry and public health alignment, which is in turn driving worsening public perception of the vapor category," stated Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC. "We believe leadership is needed — both at the FDA and in the public health community — to stem the increasingly negative messaging about the e-cig/vapor category given the potential for e-cigs/vapor to positively impact public health — though we acknowledge more studies are needed."
Some retailers and wholesalers are worried about stocking e-cigarette and vapor products that they could be stuck holding, unable to sell or return, based on the current lack of FDA regulation, Herzog noted. However, the majority of suppliers are moving forward with a focus on innovation and consumer-friendly products.