Media Negativity Driving Vaping Growth?
It's a simple observation that to teens, something perceived as 'dangerous' or controversial instantly becomes more cool than it was.
Most vendors of e-cigarettes absolutely don't want to target pre-adults and the industry wants to feel that it is part of a helpful change in peoples lives - we just want to get on with our business serving those who want to reduce the harm of their tobacco habit and who want to save money at the same time. The market for this is actually massive (tobacco sales were more than £15 Billion in 2012 in the UK alone). We welcome more regulation specifically at stopping underage uptake of nicotine products and encourage better quality standards, because that will help everybody, and benefit those who are aiming at tobacco harm reduction.
But particularly in 2014, there was a striking tendency for the media to report hysterically on research that overwhelmingly actually showed e-cigaretes to be much safer than smoking, so as to greatly exaggerate the risks. It hasn't had any effect though in slowing sales, which are growing rapidly.
The side-effect of all this unjustified negativity, could, just possibly be to increase usage in the very groups nobody wants to get involved. The use of e-cigs by teenagers has been very low except as a tobacco replacement product, so that is not making the situation any worse. Teens previously viewed electronic cigarettes as fundamentally uncool, and that was when it was viewed as safe in the media. But if (absurd) negative press makes e-cigs 'cool' to teens, then the media could be generating a problem. And they should know better.