It’s a Different World
The children of our generation are growing up in a completely different world than we did and especially our ancestors. As kids, most of us were out from morning till night with our friends and found joy in playing outside until the streetlights came on, riding our bikes, and making forts. Now, the average American between the ages of 8 to 28 spend an astounding nine hours a day intently bent over the electric-blue glow of a smartphone or ipad entertaining themselves on social media and streaming videos. Incidentally, social media is a feeding ground for companies and influencers to advertise products, such as E-cigarettes and other products.
According to NBC News, 37 percent of high school students have reported vaping within the past 12 months, a jump from 28 percent in 2017 and high school sophomores went from 23.9 percent to over 32 percent while eighth graders had a smaller increase from 13.3 percent to 17.6 percent. E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students, but recent studies show that many may not realize they’re inhaling highly addictive nicotine. More than 25 percent claimed they vaped “just flavoring” in the past year, up from 20.6 percent in 2017. Vaping products contain nicotine and most do not offer nicotine-free flavors.
The nicotine found in vaping products and other tobacco products , causes addiction, may harm brain development, and could lead to continued tobacco product use among youth. Tobacco product advertising can entice youth to use tobacco, and spending to advertise e-cigarettes has increased rapidly since 2011. About 69% of middle and high school students were exposed to e-cigarette advertisements in retail stores, on the Internet, in magazines/newspapers, or on TV/movies.
Studies have found that e-cigarette advertising directly correlates with e-cigarette use among youths, and employs themes and strategies that are similar to conventional cigarette advertising tactics that have been proven to appeal to youths. As stated by Nora D. Volkow the National Institute on Drug Abuse director, “teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices” also commonly known as E-cigs, Vapes, Vape Sticks, E-hookahs, and Pod Mods.
In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to the top four vaping device companies that were using paid social media influencers to pitch nicotine solutions to their online followers, including candy like flavors such gummy bears , cotton candy, and bubble raz. Currently there are over 7700 flavored e-liquid and hookah tobacco products in the market and available for sale online. These new actions are part of the FDA’s ongoing, aggressive effort to investigate and take action against illegally marketed tobacco products amid the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use in America.