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In 2022, FDA launched “Next Legends” – a new youth e-cigarette prevention campaign that aims to educate American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, ages 12-17, about the harms of vaping. Native youth are more susceptible to tobacco than their non-Native peers, and they demonstrate disproportionately high experimentation and current use of e-cigarettes.
The “Next Legends” campaign uses unique branding and tailored messaging that is specifically designed to educate AI/AN youth on the harmful effects of vaping.
Our Goal: Inspire a new generation of AI/AN teens to live Native strong and vape-free.
How We Used Research to Develop the “Next Legends” Campaign
For the first large-scale tobacco and vaping prevention effort made for AI/AN audiences, extensive research was conducted for the brand to build on. Our goal was to learn about our audience and tap into key insights in order to bring their unique perspective to life.
To form a deep understanding of the mindset, values, and behavior of Native teens, we conducted focus groups and surveys across key geographic concentrations. We also maintained ongoing conversations with Native community members and public health partners during the campaign planning process.
Through research, we learned these key insights about the audience:
Perceptions and Motivations
- Tobacco use is prevalent in Native communities, and use is often normalized. Some use tobacco for ceremonial activity, although ceremonial use is infrequent among youth.
- Vapes are one of the most commonly used tobacco products among youth and are perceived as easy to obtain.
- Vaping often starts off as a social activity, often occurring before, after, or even during school.
- Other reasons for use include experimenting, social pressure, and coping with stress.
- Native teens want to know more about the effects of vaping and why they should care.
- Native teens appreciate learning something new in ads, such as facts about chemicals and metals, but also want more information about the harms of these substances.
Mindset and Values
- Family, friends, and community have major importance.
- Proud of their Native heritage and protective of their roots and identity.
- Care deeply about respect and doing the right thing.
- Health is defined as an interconnectedness of Mind, Body, and Spirit.
- Mind: Mental strength and perseverance.
- Body: Physical well-being and being capable of doing the things that matter.
- Spirit: Respect for culture, community, and environment.
Based on our research, we created a campaign that amplifies the regret teens may feel after vaping. Our goal is to help Native teens recognize for themselves that vaping can hold them back from achieving a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Utilizing storytelling to convey cautionary messages has long been a powerful tool in Native American culture. One such parable is the Trickster: a mythical creature who takes the form of familiar animals, only to shapeshift with the purpose to create confusion and take advantage of unsuspecting people. Trickster spreads deception, so he is the perfect character to fool teens into trying vaping.
Out of Your Control Ad
Most vapes contain addictive levels of nicotine. When the nicotine cravings kick in, they can be all-consuming for teens, taking away their ability to focus on anything besides vaping. This campaign ad brings to life these uncomfortable, real-life scenarios that illustrate a loss of control to the need to vape.
“Next Legends” is primarily a digital-based effort designed to reach Native teens on the platforms they commonly use, such as YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram. In addition to the campaign’s digital video and social media presence, select local events well-attended by Native youth are used to extend the message to AI/AN communities.
The campaign uses a variety of tactics and communication channels aligned with the interests of Native youth, including:
- Select local events well-attended by Native youth
- Streaming audio platforms, such as Pandora and Spotify
- Digital advertising, such as online videos
- Social media, such as Instagram and Twitch
- Native influencers
- Campaign website
Campaign Fact Sheets
Free Tobacco Education Materials at FDA Tobacco Education Resource Library
Learn more about print materials, web content, and social media posts available for free that help keep communities informed about tobacco-related issues.
Quitting Resources for Youth
FDA partners with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Smokefree.gov initiative to provide youth with resources for quitting e-cigarettes. Resources and information on teen.smokefree.gov/NextLegends are tailored specifically for AI/AN youth audiences by cessation experts. “Next Legends” connects youth to these resources on social media and various digital platforms.
Some of the quit tools and resources include:
- Online chat with counselors trained to help youth quit
- SmokefreeTXT for Teens and quitSTART App to help quit smoking
- Quit Builder tool to help teens make a personalized quit plan
- Quizzes and Surveys to help teens understand vaping addiction
- Information about nicotine withdrawal and addiction