New FDA Campaign Hopes to Scare Teens Away From E-Cigarettes

More than 2 million middle and high school students used the devices in 2017

The federal government is hoping it can scare American teens away from e-cigarette use.

The Food and Drug Administration is rolling out a new campaign of videos aimed at graphically illustrating the dangers of e-cigarettes and so-called “vaping.”

Teen e-cigarette use rose to 12 percent in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that more than 2 million middle and high school students used the devices that year, making them the most popular cigarette problem in the group for the fourth straight year.

The campaign, called "The Real Cost," will feature posters in school bathrooms and advertisements on social media sites popular among children, like YouTube and Facebook. The FDA's Kathy Crosby said it would be "snarky and irreverent," with messages like, "Strangely enough, some kids come here to put crap into their bodies," according to NBC News.

The JUUL brand e-cigarettes have grown especially popular among teens, in part because of the easy to hide design and fruit-flavored liquid nicotine. That popularity led to a nationwide blitz by the FDA on retailers who sell to teens. The agency issues monetary penalties and sent warning letters to more than 1,300 retailers nationwide who sold to children, including eight in Connecticut.

Wolcott mom Christy Bisaillon says she’s encouraged her teen daughters not to try vaping, despite what their classmates are doing and the misconception among some teens that vaping is less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

“Say no just like a regular drug. It’s still nicotine no matter what it is” said Bisaillon. “They think it's not addicting. They think it's not ruining their health. I’m just hoping they stay away from it.”

Even as this anti-vaping campaign rolls out, the clock is still ticking for the makers of e-cigarettes. Last week the FDA gave the five major manufacturers of e-cigarettes two months to come up with a plan to keep their products away from kids.

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