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E-Cigarette Market is Booming, Study Finds

Update Date: Jun 17, 2014 09:28 AM EDT

With more laws and regulations cracking down on tobacco products, the popularity of electronic cigarettes has soared. In a new study, researchers set out to see just how much popularity the product has gained. The team discovered that within the past recent years, the online market for e-cigarettes and flavors have spiked significantly.

"The number of e-cigarette brands sold on the Internet is large and the variety of flavors staggering," the research team headed by Dr. Shu-Hong Zhu, of the University of California, San Diego, department of family and preventive medicine, reported according to Philly.

Dr. Zhu added, according to the Washington Post, "It's exploding. There's no sign of slowing down."

For this study, Dr. Zhu and colleagues focused on online English websites that were marketing e-cigarettes during two different time frames. The first one was between May and August 2012 and the second one was between December 2013 and January 2014. The team reported that during the first analysis, they identified 288 new e-cigarette brands. In the second analysis, 37 brands had disappeared. However, the researchers were able to identify an additional 215 new brands. By the end of January 2014, there were more than 460 different options for e-cigarettes.

"There's this really rapid growth happening," said Frank Chaloupka, director of the Health Policy Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "They are becoming available all over the place, they are being marketed aggressively, and they are cheap compared to normal cigarettes. But in terms of policy, there's been very little done to control [the market] to this point."

The researchers stated that each brand had its own website. Overall, there were a total of 7,800 different flavors. Flavors mostly came from popular categories, such as desserts, candy, alcohol, drinks, snacks and fruit. Almost all of the brands offered menthol and tobacco flavors. The team added that only around 10 percent of the brands directly claimed that their products could help people quit smoking.

The study was published in the journal, Tobacco Control.

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