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Have You Seen the Latest E-Cigarette Commercials?

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Juul and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.’s Vuse Alto have hit households in a new way, with commercials aimed at adults and their efforts to quit smoking.

Back in September of 2013, Reynolds ran a 60-second Vuse commercial restricted to Colorado residents during late night television programming where adults comprised 85 percent of the viewership. It was the first e-cigarette ad or ad of its kind to air since television cigarette advertising was banned in 1971, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Fast-forward to blu that made a go with commercials earlier this decade with Jenny McCarthy as its spokesmodel, followed by Juul Labs Inc.’s campaign that ran earlier this year during late night cable TV. Juul told sources that the ads, which were part of a $10 million campaign, were targeted to ages 35 and older who were committed to quitting analog cigarettes.

Now we’re in March of 2019, when the Vuse Alto’s 30-second ad ran nationwide on the likes of CNN, The History Channel and AMC. It also appeared online, however it was restricted “to programming content and scheduling that is not directed to youth and that is relevant to audiences 21 years old or older,” as verified by an independent data service. The commercials’ tagline, “The Perfect Puff,” is

The new commercial spot is designed, according to Vuse representatives, to be a “youth-use prevention initiative” and “clearly intended for adult tobacco consumers.” Christy Canary-Garner, vice president of Vuse, told the Winston-Salem Journal, “We are extremely pleased to have launched a television commercial for a product that, through its features and our responsible marketing practices. We have demonstrated that vapor products can be marketed responsibly to adult tobacco consumers and remain committed to this goal.”

Reynolds also reportedly will begin establishing purchase limits of $80 weekly and no more than three Vuse Alto devices every quarter on its website, in addition to its already established third-party age verification process. Models in the ads are required to be 25 years of age or older.

Scott Ballin, past chairman of the anti-smoking alliance Coalition of Science or Health, told the Winston-Salem Journal that “the TV ads could be viewed as trying to assist [FDA Commissioner Scott] Gottlieb’s initiative to inform adult smokers ‘that they have viable consumer acceptable alternatives, such as vaping products.’” Ballin stressed that there is a viable market for products such as these.

Canary-Garner told CNBC that since the beginnings of marketing Vuse, the company has “been committed to preventing youth use of our vapor products.” Reynolds management has said that it would comply with whatever the FDA decides in terms of flavors, but until the law changes, flavors will still be on Vuse’s distribution list. Additionally, Reynolds plans on training retail employees further about age verification through the We Card program.

"We're unique in this position in that we have 100 years in understanding the adult tobacco consumer, and flavors do play a role in that," Canary-Garner told CNBC. "Consumers are seeking choice, not only in their device format but in their flavor and performance and in the satisfaction of that."