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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Responses to e-cigarette advertising

This study explored the effects of e-cigarette ad exposure among former smokers in two countries with different e-cigarette regulation contexts. In an online study, 408 United States (US) and 405 Australian former smokers from survey panels were randomized to view one of 14 e-cigarette or two control ads. Analyses examined effects of ad condition, and interactions by country and relapse susceptibility. Effects were generally consistent across countries. Compared to control ads, those exposed to e-cigarette ads not only were more likely to have an urge or susceptibility to use e-cigarettes, but also were more likely to be reminded of smoking and have a desire to smoke cigarettes. After exposure, US former smokers were less likely to be confident to abstain from smoking. These effects were especially pronounced among those susceptible to relapse. E-cigarette ad exposure was not associated with estimates of e-cigarette prevalence or perceptions of quitting ease. Exposure to e-cigarette ads can increase former smokers’ desire to smoke and weaken their confidence to abstain. Regulators may need to consider the potential population impact of allowing former smokers to be exposed repeatedly to e-cigarette advertising.

CBRC staff

Prof Sarah Durkin, Prof Melanie Wakefield, Megan Bayly


Cancer Council Victoria


2014 - 2016