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FDA launches its first youth e-cigarette prevention TV ads

"Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing the launch of its first e-cigarette prevention TV ads educating kids about the dangers of e-cigarette use. The FDA also plans to provide new posters for high schools and educational materials for middle schools across the U.S. as part of “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign.

The public education effort was first launched in September 2018 with hard-hitting advertising on digital and social media sites, as well as posters with e-cigarette prevention messages displayed in high schools across the nation, targeting nearly 10.7 million youth, aged 12-17, who have used e-cigarettes or are open to trying them. As the campaign’s one-year anniversary approaches, the new TV ads and school resources are designed to continue to engage youth with important public health messages about the risks of e-cigarette use.

“The troubling epidemic of youth vaping threatens to erase the years of progress we’ve made combating tobacco use among kids, and it’s imperative that our work to tackle this immensely concerning trend continue to include efforts to educate our nation’s youth about the dangers of these products. The new ads as part of our youth prevention campaign highlight one of the many alarming aspects of youth e-cigarette use ‒ that, according to emerging science, teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes, putting them at risk of a lifetime of addiction to smoking and related disease. As our new ads state: ‘it’s not magic, it’s statistics,’ and the potential for kids to become traditional cigarette smokers because of e-cigarettes gives me great pause,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “We cannot allow the next generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine. We will continue to work to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of America’s kids through policies to limit youth access to, and appeal of, e-cigarette products, take vigorous compliance and enforcement actions to hold manufacturers and retailers accountable when they illegally market or sell these products to minors, and continue to spearhead highly successful public education efforts to warn youth about the dangers of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”

The new TV ads called “Magic” feature Julius Dein, a popular street magician, who has appeared in online videos with a number of celebrities. In the ads, the social media personality magically turns a teen’s e-cigarette or vape into a cigarette in front of their eyes. This powerful illusion illustrates that teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes.

These risks are highlighted in research published in JAMA Network, which showed that, compared with non-users, youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try conventional cigarettes in the future. This was also a conclusion reached in a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report in 2018 on the Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. These new ads will run on television networks such as TeenNick, CW, ESPN and MTV, as well as on music streaming sites, social media networks and other teen-focused media channels.

Research on the increased likelihood of initiating smoking among youth e-cigarette users is particularly concerning given that over the past several years, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth in the U.S. In fact, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students across the country were current (within the past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2018, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a dramatic increase of 1.5 million students from the previous year. The data also showed that youth who used e-cigarettes also were using them more frequently, and more of them were using flavored e-cigarette products, than in 2017."

Source: U.S. FDA

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