WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22, 2018 -- Tobacco displays and advertising in convenience stores make teens more willing to try electronic cigarettes, researchers say.
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used smoking products among young people in the United States.
The study, which included 160 middle and high school students between 11 and 17 years of age, was conducted in a laboratory that replicated a full-sized convenience store. Students were given $10 to buy whatever they wanted.
A typical display of tobacco products -- the so-called tobacco "power wall" -- was open when half of the students shopped and hidden when the other half did.
In follow-up surveys, those teens exposed to the tobacco display were 15 percent more likely to say they'd be willing to use e-cigarettes.
The students also said convenience stores were their most common source of exposure to e-cigarette advertising. More than three-quarters had been exposed to e-cigarette ads in convenience stores and 14 percent said they saw e-cigarettes there most of the time.
Television was the second most common source of exposure to e-cigarette advertising.
The RAND Corporation study was published online recently in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
"Our findings provide evidence that hiding the tobacco wall in convenience stores might reduce the number of adolescents who try e-cigarettes," said lead author Michael Dunbar, a behavioral scientist at the nonprofit research organization.
"This is evidence that the tobacco power wall helps influence the attitudes of adolescents toward not only combustible cigarettes, but vaping products as well," he added in a RAND news release.
In Canada and several other countries, power walls must be hidden and only customers of legal age can see tobacco products.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about e-cigarettes.
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