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N Z Med J. 2019 Nov 8;132(1505):20-33.

Electronic cigarette online marketing by New Zealand vendors.

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Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington.



To examine the characteristics of the online marketing environment and the presence of safeguards to protect children from e-cigarette (ENDS) experimentation and uptake in New Zealand.


The search engine 'Google Chrome' was used to identify New Zealand vendor websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts. 'YouTube NZ' was searched for videos related to ENDS.


A total of 59 New Zealand vendor websites were identified; of these, only 10% (6/59) required age proof before purchase. A majority (68%) had no detectable health warnings, and only 25% mentioned nicotine addiction. Most (92%) of the websites used at least one social networking or video sharing site in their marketing. The lowest ENDS price advertised in the websites reviewed was $NZ9.95 (US$6.60) and the cheapest 10ml e-liquid bottle was $NZ3.50. All 60 accessible Facebook accounts, and nearly all (96%; 25/26) accessible Twitter accounts associated with New Zealand vendors, had no health or addiction warnings. Of the 52 accessible YouTube videos that had links to New Zealand vendor websites, none had a health or addiction warning.


This study suggests that the online marketing of e-cigarettes (ENDS) by New Zealand vendors lacks adequate information for consumers and does not effectively prevent access by children and young people. Careful monitoring of ENDS online marketing is required to inform policies that reduce the risk that children and non-smokers may experiment with ENDS. International health bodies and government policy-makers should actively consider regulations designed to reduce the risks that online ENDS marketing appeals to youth and adult non-smokers, and promotes experimentation.


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