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05 Oct 2018

The Food and Drug Administration in the US has launched an ad campaign to discourage teenagers from vaping.

The campaign, described by FDA officials themselves as irreverent, uses special effects and targets the teenagers on social media and even in school toilets.

Bathroom wall posters include messages such as: “Strangely enough, some kids come here to put crap into their bodies.”

The social media part of the campaign targets kids on school lunch breaks who look up a YouTube videos. They will be shown the FDA ads as well.

Appealing to teenage vanity (because appealing to their health doesn’t always work), the ads depict nicotine as crawling through their bodies and disfiguring their faces.

The campaign is deliberately designed to keep clear of adult smokers who have turned to e-cigarettes in an effort to quit smoking.

The message to the teenagers, however, is that e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to addict them, and toxins that could have unexpected effects on their health and their appearance.

“We are acting on very clear science that there’s an epidemic on the way,” FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said, while also stressing that e-cigarettes are a “tobacco product”.

Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products stressed the point.

“E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among young people in the United States,” he said.

“We need to get the word out about the dangers of e-cigarette use among adolescents.”

The FDA has repeatedly described e-cigarette use among teenagers as an epidemic. The authority has threatened to ban flavoured vaping products, saying they are clearly marketed to addict teenagers.

CHRIS JOHNSON


Published: 05 Oct 2018