For the first time, the agency will take the message that vaping is dangerous into at least 10,000 high school bathrooms and social media feeds of those at-risk youth to stop what the FDA calls an epidemic of e-cigarette use by minors. A 2016 report from the US surgeon general, which cited a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students between 2011 to 2015. FDA also threatens stores that sell Juul and flavored e-cigarettes to kids.
Popular flavors like tutti frutti, cotton candy and sour gummy worms have attracted younger users to e-cigarettes. But e-cigarettes have a number of health issues beside the addictive properties of nicotine. “No youth should ever use e-cigs,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said in a video during Tuesday’s announcement. The campaign will also launch on digital sites and social media platforms popular with young people, such as YouTube, Facebook and Spotify. This time it will be an aggressive approach. The campaign used focus-group testing with young people to maximize the impact of the ads. The testing found that highlighting specific health messages such as chemicals and dangers was more effective than a general message that vaping is bad. “Vaping can deliver nicotine to your brain, reprogramming you to crave more and more,” a poster says.