One of the biggest criticisms of the vaping community is that certain vaping manufacturers seem to cater to kids by creating candy-flavored e-juices and packaging them inside of bottles and boxes that have cartoon characters and other “kiddy” things on them. Vaping critics believe that this proves the vaping industry is targeting kids and trying to get them to vape.
The truth, of course, is that this is most definitely not the case. Some vaping manufacturers do make candy-flavored e-juices, but it’s not because they want kids to vape with them. It’s because adult vapers enjoy using them.
Additionally, there are some vaping manufacturers that use cartoons and other kiddy content on their packaging, but these companies represent a very small percentage of the vaping industry. It’s not like every single vaping company is using this technique, and it’s also not like the companies that do want to target kids. Many of them do it simply to make their e-juices and vaping products stand out from the crowd.
There is a case to be made for vaping companies stopping this practice, though. Making candy-flavored e-juices is and will always be okay. But as the vaping industry grows, it’s probably for the best if vaping companies stop using animated characters, cartoons, and other kiddy approaches to packaging.
It’s a point that Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos (pictured above) tried to make in a piece that he published earlier this month. Dr. Farsalinos, who maintains a column on the website e-cigarette-research.com, has made a lot of really smart points in the past. We have praised him for bringing good vaping studies to light and for shooting down bogus ones.
And he once again made some excellent observations about the vaping industry in a piece called “Irresponsible marketing by parts of the e-cigarette industry requires immediate measures.” Here is what he attempted to do with it…
He talked about the ongoing battles the vaping industry faces.
Dr. Farsalinos is always very forthright when it comes to discussing the challenges that the vaping industry has to endure. And he took the same approach as usual in his latest piece.
He briefly touched on how the U.S. Surgeon General spoke out against vaping recently and said that the industry markets products towards teens too often. He also pointed out that the CDC has “long supported” the idea that there are too many teens using e-cigarettes and that they believe it is “becoming a public health problem.” And he spoke about how this is affecting adults who vape.
In general, Dr. Farsalinos believes that many of the problems that the vaping industry is having stem from the fact that vaping critics think the industry is geared towards young people and getting them hooked on vaping. So he thinks that type of thinking needs to change ASAP if the vaping industry wants to win non-believers over.
He called out vaping companies that use “kiddy” packaging.
After discussing the very general problems that the vaping industry is facing, Dr. Farsalinos moved on and discussed a much more specific problem. That problem? The colorful, animated packaging that is often used for vaping products.
Dr. Farsalinos said that he recently received a number of photos from a vaping expo in the United States (he didn’t say which one) that included vaping products packaged inside of bottles and boxes that looked like they belonged inside of a toy store. Dr. Farsalinos was not happy with this and believes that approach to be the wrong one for vaping manufacturers.
He didn’t name any specific vaping companies in his piece, but he did say that a source told him between 30 and 40 percent of the products at the vaping expo were in this kind of packaging. And according to him, this is sending the wrong message to the world.
“In my opinion, this is absolutely unacceptable and a clear indication of irresponsible behavior and marketing tactics,” he wrote. “Even if there is no such genuine intention, none will be convinced.”
He asked vaping companies to reconsider how they market themselves.
So what is the solution to the problem that Dr. Farsalinos pointed out? In his mind, everyone in the vaping community is responsible for lending a hand and doing away with the kiddy packaging used for many vaping products.
Dr. Farsalinos wants to see manufacturers stop using the packaging that he talks about. He wants to see retailers ask the manufacturers to stop using the packaging if they continue to see it. And he even wants to see vapers take a stand against companies and refuse to use products that look like they could potentially be marketed towards kids. If there are vaping companies that refuse to comply, he wants to see vapers shut them down by not paying for their products.
This is all easier said than done. But Dr. Farsalinos seems very passionate about it and doesn’t want to see the industry collapse because of a few bad apples that engage in “irresponsible” marketing. The word irresponsible is one that he uses early and often in his argument.
He discussed what might happen if changes aren’t made.
If vaping companies don’t start marketing their products in a more responsible way, Dr. Farsalinos thinks it will hurt the industry as a whole in several different ways.
First, it will continue to make people outside of the vaping community believe that vaping companies are targeting kids with their marketing practices. By using animated packaging, these companies will have a certain segment of the population convinced that they are chasing after underage vapers.
Second, it will reduce the number of flavors that are available because, at some point, Dr. Farsalinos believes the FDA or some other government organization will step in and force vaping companies to stop using certain marketing techniques. If and when that happens, it could lead to great flavors getting tossed out the window.
And third, it will hurt the public’s overall perception of vaping and tarnish the potential health benefits of it, even though it’s clear that not all vaping companies use the same approach to marketing.
For these reasons, Dr. Farsalinos wrote that the current situation “needs to be strongly condemned and criticized” and he said that “action needs to be taken to remove such products from the market.”
You can go here to read Dr. Farsalinos’ entire piece. Do you agree with his overall point?