March 4 (UPI) -- Reynolds American tobacco began airing new television ads Monday for its Vuse Alto e-cigarettes, as part of a focused effort to help adult smokers quit regular cigarettes and to discourage all use by those underage.
The commercials will appear on cable networks including AMC, CNN and the History Channel. The company said it has placed restrictions on its website to prevent customers from buying more than $80 worth of products per week and three devices per quarter.
"Since we began marketing Vuse in the very beginning, we have been committed to preventing youth use of our vapor products," Christy Canary-Garner, Vuse vice president of consumer marketing, told CNBC.
"We have 100 years in understanding the adult tobacco consumer, and flavors do play a role in that."
The ads come a little more than three months after U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced new steps to prevent teenage access to flavored tobacco products and banning menthol in cigarettes.
"As a father of three young children, I hear daily from parents and teachers worried about the epidemic use of electronic cigarettes and nicotine addiction among kids," Gottlieb said last November. "As a physician who cared for hospitalized cancer patients, I saw first-hand the devastation that smoking-related diseases had wrought on the lives of patients and their families, and dedicated myself to helping ease this suffering."
E-cigarettes have led to a sizable uptick in teenage nicotine use, due to the availability of fruity flavors and marketing that doesn't reveal vaping still involves nicotine. They have been popular on social media where teen students have posted photos of vaping and tricks.
The FDA ordered British American Tobacco, the parent of Reynolds American and four others, to submit plans within 60 days showing how they will prevent teenagers from using their products.
Gottlieb has said the FDA will fight teenage vaping as long as the results aren't sufficient.
"If the youth use continues to rise, the entire category will face an existential threat," he said.