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E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth. Today, youth e-cigarette use continues to decline but remains an ongoing public health concern with over 2 million youth still using e-cigarettes1.
Our Goal: Educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use. The campaign addresses the “cost-free” mentality in middle and high schoolers with messages that educate youth that using e-cigarettes puts them at risk for addiction and other health consequences.
How Research Guides Our Campaign
FDA conducts research with teens on an ongoing basis, including focus groups and surveys across the country. Our research, which is diverse in geography, race and ethnicity, gender, age, provides key insights about potential campaign messages and ads.
Nicotine Addiction Isn’t Pretty
“The Real Cost” e-cigarette prevention campaign uses a variety of marketing tactics and creative advertising to reach its audience. Advertising and prevention materials are delivered across teen-relevant communication channels, including:
- Television ads
- Online video ads
- Social media
- Media partnerships with youth-focused content, such as Marvel Comics and Rick and Morty
- “The Real Cost” campaign’s youth-focused website
- Posters for high schools nationwide
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 are designed specifically for youth audiences by cessation experts. “The Real Cost” campaign connects youth to these resources on social media and various digital platforms (Spotify Pandora, Wattpad, etc.). 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
E-cigarette Prevention Resources for Educators
FDA provides resources to educators, parents, and community leaders to prevent youth e-cigarette use. FDA and Scholastic developed resources for educators to teach youth about the harms of e-cigarettes. These materials are accessible online for free in English and Spanish and are adaptable for remote instruction or independent student work. Materials include:
- Student magazine
- Lesson plans
- Activity sheets
- A guide for parents to talk to kids about e-cigarettes
Free Tobacco Education Materials at FDA Tobacco Education Resource Library
Download or order free youth e-cigarette prevention posters and infographics:
Learn more about print materials, web content, and social media posts available for free that help keep communities informed about tobacco-related issues
- Effie Awards
- 2022: Bronze Effie in the Disease Awareness and Education category
- 2021: Bronze Effie in the Disease Awareness and Education category
- ARF David Ogilvy Awards
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tobacco product use among middle and high school students – United States, 2011-2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016; 65(14):361-367.
2. Gentzke AS, Wang TW, Cornelius M, et al. Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students – National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2021. MMWR Surveill Summ 2022;71(No. SS-5): 1-29. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss7105a1.