California Takes Aim at E-Cigarette Industry With New Ad Campaign

By May Wilkerson 03/24/15

Once again, California is leading the way on public health. Will other states soon follow?

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California is continuing its crusade against e-cigarettes with a new campaign called “Wake Up.” The series of digital and TV ads warn people about the dangers of the electronic nicotine devices, and highlight their ties to the tobacco industry.

“Our advertising campaign is telling the public to ‘wake up’ to the fact that these are highly addictive products being mass marketed,” said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith in a statement.

The ads premiered this week, just two months after e-cigs were declared a public health risk by the California Department of Health (CDPH). “California has been a world leader in tobacco use prevention and cessation since 1990, with one of the lowest youth and adult smoking rates in the nation,” said Smith. “The aggressive marketing and escalating use of e-cigarettes threatens to erode that progress.”

The ads feature hit songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s, when smoking ads were prevalent, to show how the e-cigarette industry mirrors the original cigarette industry.

One ad, titled “What Could Go Wrong,” points out that the e-cig market is directly tied to Big Tobacco. The other, “Kids Aren’t Alright,” calls out the e-cig industry for marketing candy-flavored products that appeal to kids.

E-cigarette use has surged among teens and young adults in California, according to a January health advisory by the CDPH.

Check out "What Could Go Wrong" here:

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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