Skip to main content

FDA Reveals New Ads to Warn Kids About E-Cigarettes

still taken from the video "Julius Dein's Magic Vape Trick Leaves Teen Speechless | The Real Cost" showing a teen's surprise after a magic trick

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is launching a new series of TV ads to teach kids about the dangers of using e-cigarettes. The ads are part of an educational effort that started in September 2018 and is designed for kids aged 12 to 17 who have used e-cigarettes or thought about trying them. The effort also includes posters, social media messages, and educational materials for school classrooms that warn against vaping.

The FDA says the messages are important because evidence shows that teens who use e-cigarettes are at risk of becoming addicted to nicotine. They also are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes, putting them at risk for smoking-related illnesses. “We cannot allow the next generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine, said acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, in a statement. “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 tagline of the new ads is, “It’s not magic; it’s statistics.” They feature British street magician Julius Dein turning e-cigarettes into regular cigarettes in front of the eyes of surprised teens. The magic trick is meant to send the message that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking. The ads will appear on TeenNick, CW, ESPN, and MTV, music streaming sites, social media networks, and other media channels geared to teens.

Also part of the campaign are posters for display in high school bathrooms that warn about dangerous chemicals in some e-cigarette liquid. Examples of the messages include:

  • “You might as well flush your lungs while you’re at it. Vaping can deliver toxic metal particles, like nickel, lead and chromium directly into your lungs.”
  • “When you find out what’s in a vape, you won’t be relieved. Vaping can expose you to some of the same cancer-causing chemicals as those found in cigarette smoke.”

Vaping endangers kids

The FDA has called e-cigarette use among teenagers “an epidemic” and called on manufacturers including JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, and Logic to keep their products out of the hands of minors by changing sales and marketing practices, which may mean cutting out the candy and fruit flavors that appeal to teens. Last month, JUUL’s CEO apologized to parents whose children had become addicted to e-cigarettes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said:

  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product by American kids.
  • More than 3.6 million middle and high school students in the US used e-cigarettes in 2018, a significant increase of 1.5 million from the year before.
  • E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other harmful substances.
  • Like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes put kids at risk of addiction, lung damage, and other health problems.

Nicotine can cause the brain to crave more nicotine and can harm brain development in adolescents.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.