FDA’s Work to Stop Youth E-Cigarette Use

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As kids head back to school – a place where they vape or see their peers vape – FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign continues to educate teens on the dangers associated with e-cigarette use.

In 2018, the National Youth Tobacco Survey showed an increase in youth use of tobacco products, including an alarming surge in e-cigarette use. Also, given the ongoing investigation into a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary diseases associated with the use of vapes, it’s an especially timely opportunity to educate teens about the potential health consequences associated with vaping. No youth should be using any vaping product, regardless of the substance being inhaled. FDA remains committed to doing everything possible to protect kids from the harms of e-cigarettes.
Originally a primarily digital campaign, “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign broadened this year to include its first TV ads on the emerging science that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. The campaign’s original ad highlighting that e-cigarettes can contain dangerous chemicals also began airing on TV this month.
Recent evaluation results from the award-winning “The Real Cost” Smoking Prevention Campaign show the impact that public education campaigns can have on youth tobacco use. “The Real Cost” framework of reaching youth in ways they can relate to is an integral part of FDA’s plan to educate kids about the dangers of e-cigarette use.
FDA also joined forces with Scholastic to provide resources on youth e-cigarette use to middle and high school students throughout the country. FDA and Scholastic are currently mailing “The Real Cost” campaign posters with hard-hitting e-cigarette prevention messages to all U.S. high schools. The poster mailing ensures each high school can display e-cigarette prevention messages in their bathrooms, a common place where teens are using e-cigarettes. High schools do not need to request the bathroom posters; they are mailed directly to schools.
FDA and Scholastic also developed free resources for high school educators to help them start conversations and teach students about the harms of e-cigarette use. New lesson plans and resources for middle and high schools are in development and are expected to be available throughout the 2019-2020 school year.
Youth e-cigarette prevention messaging is not just needed in schools. FDA developed additional posters and digital content that can be ordered or downloaded for free from the CTP Exchange Lab for use by churches, doctors’ offices, coaches, and others who work with youth.
In 2017, as many as 80 percent of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students did not perceive that regular use of e-cigarettes may pose a great risk of harm, but the nicotine in tobacco products such as e-cigarettes can rewire the teen brain to crave more. In fact, teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. Some of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke, like nicotine, formaldehyde, acrolein, and acetaldehyde are also found in some e-cigarette aerosols, and inhaling these chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage. E-cigarette use can also deliver metal particles, like nickel, lead, chromium, tin, and aluminum, into the lungs.
Conversations with parents, teachers, and coaches can change a teen’s “cost-free” mindset and help them learn more about e-cigarettes and teen health. For teens that need help quitting e-cigarettes, free resources are available through the National Cancer Institute’s Smokefree Teen program.
Education is a cornerstone of FDA’s efforts to stop the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use and it is an important complement to our overarching efforts to ensure all tobacco products aren’t being marketed to, sold to, or used by kids. FDA is committed to protecting Americans, and especially youth, from the dangers of tobacco use and nicotine.

Read full article here.

Center for Tobacco Products – September 12, 2019.

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