CDC Announcement: E-cigarettes and high-school students

Adapted from: CDC Announcement: E-cigarette ads reach nearly 7 in 10 middle and high-school students

E-cigarette ads reach nearly 7 in 10 middle and high-school students

Many ads use themes that appeal to youth

About 7 in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, in newspapers and magazines, or on television and in movies, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.

Exposure to e-cigarette advertisements may be contributing to increases in e-cigarette use among youth.

E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence, rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes. Advertising of tobacco products has been shown to cause young people to start using those products.

  • In 2014, e-cigarettes became the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes.
  • During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5% to 13.4 %.
  • As shown in the graph below, spending on e-cigarette advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to an estimated $115 million in 2014.


States, communities, and others could reduce youth access to e-cigarettes.

 E-cigarettes typically deliver nicotine, which at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use. Strategies to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes could include:

  • Limiting tobacco product sales to facilities that never admit youth
  • Restricting the number of stores that sell tobacco and how close they can be to schools
  • Requiring that e-cigarettes be sold only through face-to-face transactions, not on the Internet
  • Requiring age verification to enter e-cigarette vendor’s websites, make purchases, and accept deliveries of e-cigarettes

For more information on CDC’s youth tobacco prevention activities, please visit or contact Jen Greaser at