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  1. FDA In Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA expands youth e-cigarette prevention campaign to include stories from teenagers addicted to nicotine

January 21, 2020

Media Inquiries

  Stephanie Caccomo

The following quote is attributed to FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.:

“The troubling epidemic of youth vaping threatens to erase years of progress in combatting tobacco use among youth. We are working tirelessly to tackle this concerning trend, including through our recently released compliance policy focusing on, among other priorities, unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes most popular with youth. We also know it is imperative to continue to educate our nation’s youth about the dangers of these products, so they can make the smart, well-informed choice to not use these products.

“The new videos that launch this week as part of our youth e-cigarette prevention campaign feature real stories from teens who have become addicted to e-cigarettes. These powerful narratives from youth show their peers the disastrous impact of e-cigarette addiction, like the teens who developed severe anxiety and depression after using e-cigarettes or the high school athlete who could no longer compete.

“We will continue to spearhead these highly successful public education efforts to warn and inform youth about the dangers of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and we are committed to supporting research into therapies for youth who are trying to quit e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product. We will also remain diligent in our vigorous compliance and enforcement actions to hold manufacturers and retailers accountable when they illegally market or sell these products to minors. ”

  • Starting this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign will release videos featuring teenagers sharing cautionary tales about their e-cigarette addiction. The campaign will include a series of four videos called “My Vaping Mistake” with teenagers describing the physical and emotional effects of vaping addiction. The videos will be released on youth-focused channels and amplified on social media throughout the year.
  • Studies‎ have reported that youth who use a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes, are more likely to go on to use other tobacco products, such as cigarettes. This evidence is particularly concerning given that over the past several years, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth in the U.S. In fact, more than 5 million middle and high school students across the country were current (within the past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2019, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • “The Real Cost” Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign educates youth that using e-cigarettes, just like cigarettes, puts them at risk for addiction and other health consequences. Most e-cigarettes contain the highly addictive chemical nicotine and vaping delivers nicotine to the brain in as little as 10 seconds. A teen’s brain is still developing, making it more vulnerable to nicotine addiction, and nicotine exposure during the teen years can disrupt normal brain development.
  • Since its launch in 2017, “The Real Cost” E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign is showing positive results for reach and engagement. The campaign, which originally focused on digital and social media sites popular among teens and has since expanded to TV advertisements, has generated significant viewership, including more than 2 billion teen views in just over a year. Across social media platforms, the FDA has engaged teen audiences with more than 882,00 likes, 121,000 shares and 50,000 comments.


The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


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