FDA targets teen vape use with major new educational campaign

Internet users will soon see a variety of digital advertisements targeting teenagers who may be thinking about or currently using e-cigarette devices. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new educational campaign today that hopes to curb teen use of liquid nicotine devices, the effort spurred by statistics showing increased vaping activities among adolescents.

The new campaign is called "The Real Cost," and it will involve platforms teens are most likely to visit: YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook, among others. The advertisements will be limited to age-verified platforms, though there will also be printed prevention messages deployed in or around high schools.

The FDA says current plans include putting a minimum of 10,000 campaign posters up in high school bathrooms, and that other similar materials will be distributed to schools and teachers as part of the campaign. All of this is done as part of the FDA's larger Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan.

This is the agency's latest effort in regulating the e-cigarette market and dealing with what it sees as marketing of such devices to children and teens. More than 1,300 warning letters and civil financial penalties were issued to retailers that sold vaping devices to minors this past summer, something the FDA says was its "largest coordinated enforcement effort" ever.

One notable focus for the agency continues to be a point of contention among e-cig proponents: flavored liquid nicotine products, which the FDA believes makes the products more appealing to youth. These flavors include a variety of fruits, desserts, and drinks, offering a pleasant flavor that may make the act of vaping more palatable for kids. The use of such flavors hasn't been banned as now, however.