PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Food and Drug Administration is launching its first TV ads to fight vaping by teenagers. Federal surveys show e-cigarettes are the most used tobacco product among young people. In an effort to stop the trend, the FDA is targeting about 11 million at-risk teens in a new multimedia campaign.
“Some people think vaping is no big deal,” a street magician says in the ad.
The new FDA commercial features a street magician who uses tricks to educate teens on the risks of e-cigarettes. In the scene, he turns a vape device into a cigarette.
“If you vape, you’re more likely to start smoking cigarettes,” the magician said.
The FDA’s nearly $60 million initiative is called “The Real Cost.” It’s estimated that more than 3.6 million middle and high school students vaped last year.
Among high school students, there was a 78% increase in vaping from 2017.
One survey of people under 21 years old about their tobacco, e-cigarette and marijuana habits found 40% who used them didn’t realize their products contained nicotine. But tests showed they had significant levels of the chemical in their system.
“These kids are using these very high-content products and they are potentially going to get addicted,” Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Dr. Rachel Boykan said, “and they don’t know what is going on.”
In addition to addiction concerns, the health risks associated with e-cigarettes also include brain development impairment in youngsters and it may cause lung and heart disease and cancer.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will look into the role of the e-cigarette maker Juul in the teen nicotine epidemic.
Anti-vaping advocates and representatives of Juul are expected to give testimony.
Juul has taken some steps to limit its appeal to teens.
Last year, the company shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts and also cut off its supply of certain flavored pods to more than 90,000 retailers.