The team state: “Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective measures to decrease smoking rates”. Unfortunately, seeing as they go on to express grave concern about the prevalence of vape adverts, they are either conflating smoking with vaping, assuming that vape adverts lead to smoking, or both.
The paper invokes the spectre of Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (that calls for comprehensive bans across all available media platforms). This was the justification for the European Union to include an unspecified but a restrictive approach on vape advertising in the Tobacco Products Directive. Consequently, they note, “discrepancies in exposure to e-cigarette advertising may exist across the EU.”
They justify the research because of the variation between countries, “it will be of interest to monitor changes in exposure to tobacco and e-cigarette advertising across the EU that may be potentially attributable to differing adoption of TPD articles or inherent population differences.”
The problem with their reasoning lies in the fact that they used data produced from 28 EU member states in the Eurobarometer survey during November–December 2014. This was a period of time before the TPD had been enacted, and prior to any impact from adjustments to national tobacco advertising regulations to include vaping.
Another issue lies in the inaccurate level of self-declarations of witnessing any kind of advertising and, secondly, the fact that they assume “ever vaped” equates to vaper.
They claim “40% and 41.5% of the respondents reported having seen any e-cigarette and tobacco product advertisement respectively”. Those most likely to have seen advertising include:
- Current smokers
- Younger respondents
- Those with financial difficulties
- People who had tried e-cigarettes
- Daily Internet users
The full report can be viewed here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053479