Use of social media to circumvent sales and advertising ban of electronic cigarettes
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Health Institute Association, Turkey
Marmara University, Public Health, Turkey
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A475
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There are no legal electronic cigarette products available in Turkey. According to the law whether including tobacco or not products that resemble tobacco products can not be advertised, promoted and sold through internet.However the use of electronic cigarettes are frequently observed. This study was carried out in order to find out the sales outlet and advertising media of the publicly available products.

Internet search of the key words "e-cigarettes and electronic cigarettes" in Turkish language was carried out . The survey of the forum and websites identified were further analyzed to detect the presence of advertising, promotion and trading elements.

There were 94 websites and one social forum with 69,354 members on electronic cigarettes in Turkish language. Of the websites 95 % had advertising and facilitated online sales. Social media forum had a section for beginners which was accessible by non-member, containing information about the device, liquids and usage. Under the heading" starter kit for beginners" 143 brands were promoted. The suppliers were introduced under 74 headings and 44774 messages. 25 suppliers sold e-cigarettes through the forum by 221 various advertising. Online shopping section was consisted of 1990 topics and 179.100 messages. The forum also facilitated exchange of products between members, as well as international sales without customs. All the websites had Turkish domain names and used regular shipping companies for the delivery of the products. The social media forum had an international hosting. Advertising contained false claims about the safety of the products referring to reputable international organizations.Social media forum provided home-made recipes and the names and adresses of chemical supplier companies.

Social media was extensively used for the sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes that were not licenced in Turkey. Laws need to be enforced not only in real life but also at the virtual media.

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