The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched “Next Legends” Youth E-cigarette Prevention Campaign, aiming to protect American Indian/Alaska Native or AI/AN youth from the dangers of tobacco use.
The campaign will educate Native American youth, ages 12-17, about the harms of vaping through culturally specific ads.
The “Next Legends” campaign will reach AI/AN teens online through social media sites, the platforms where they spend much of their time. The agency will place digital video advertisements on social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, and streaming and gaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
Billboards, radio, and TV in Alaska will also be used to help spread the public health messages to Native youth. Members of the AI/AN community will be featured in the ads, giving messages on the negative health consequences and addiction risks of using e-cigarettes. They will also talk about the dangerous mix of chemicals and metals found in them, and how vaping can negatively affect aspects of life that are very important to the community.
According to the FDA, more than half of around 400,000 Native teens in the U.S. are at risk of using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Native youth are more susceptible to e-cigarette use than their non-Native peers, as per studies. They also show disproportionately high experimentation and current use of e-cigarettes.
FDA noted that e-cigarettes are the most used tobacco product among youth, and they cause serious health risks if used during adolescence, when the brain is still developing.
As per data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, AI/AN youth are more likely to use e-cigarettes and almost twice as likely to be frequent users of e-cigarettes than high school students overall.
The agency has conducted previous youth e-cigarette prevention campaigns with a focus to protect youth from the harms of vaping through regulation, scientific review of products, and taking enforcement actions against tobacco manufacturers, retailers, importers and distributors, when needed.
At present, the FDA restricts youth access to tobacco products by requiring retailers to check ID prior to sale and not sell to anyone under the age of 21.
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