For the first time ever, the US Food and Drug Administration is sending warnings against e-cigarettes via posters in school bathrooms to specifically target kids who are putting bad crap into their bodies.
High school smoking rates are at an all time low (eight percent). But, more than two million youth are now using e-cigarettes.
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said tobacco use remains the leading cause of in preventable disease and death in the US.
“No youth should ever use e-cigs,” said Adams. "E-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the brain, making them addictive. Using e-cigarettes can expose them to dangerous chemicals which can cause irreversible lung damage when inhaled.”
The official launch of the FDA’s The Real Cost Youth E-Cigarette Prevention campaign will be online, trolling social media and in schools, not TV ads which are geared more to adults.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb called teens using e-cigarettes an epidemic, with more than 10 million youth at risk for trying e-cigarettes.
He said e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco products among young people in the US with 2.1 million middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes, far surpassing conventional tobacco products--cigarettes, cigars, dip and hookah. About 80 percent don't believe there's any health risks.
Director of Center for Tobacco Products Mitch Zeller said the FDA aims to educate the 10.7 million youth, age 12-17, who have used e-cigarettes or are open to trying them about the dangers and risks of vaping. One reason for vaping is that it's a consequence-free mentality, that youth don't realize the dangers. He said about 80 percent of youth see no problem in the use of e-cigarettes.
The posters will be in more than 10-thousand schools and bathrooms hopefully disrupting the behavior.
Kathy Crosby, who directs the Office of Health Communication and Education at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said they're really striving to reach the teens and are geo targeting students where they're found to be vaping.
“That’s where teens are increasingly using it. So, for the first time ever, we’re bring The Real Cost campaign into the school environment. It’s the point of contact. It’s where they’re actually doing and sharing the behavior,” said Crosby.
Bathroom posters read:
"Strangely enough, some students come in here to put crap into their bodies," one bathroom poster reads.
"The stalls may have #1 and #2," another bathroom poster says, "but vapes may have #24, #28, and #82." The small print beneath explains, "Vapers can inhale toxic metals into their lungs -- like these from the periodic table: chromium, nickel, and lead."
A US surgeon general report from 2016 cited a 900 percent increase in e-cigarette use by high school students between 2011 to 2015.
A study in the journal Pediatrics found five cancer-causing toxins in the urine of 16-year-olds who inhaled e-cigarette vapor.