On Aug. 8, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its plans to pursue a new public health education campaign aimed at discouraging the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by kids. According to an FDA news release, the agency intends to expand its “The Real Cost” public education campaign this fall to include messaging to teens about the dangers of using these products while developing a full-scale campaign to launch in 2018.
These efforts, which are part of the FDA's new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation, represent the first time the FDA will be utilizing public health education to specifically target youth use of e-cigarettes and other ENDS.
In a recent survey measuring youth tobacco use, the agency found that more than two million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes and other ENDS in 2016. Data also show about half of all middle and high school students who were current tobacco users also used two or more tobacco products last year. This use by children and teens is especially concerning because of evidence that youth exposure to nicotine affects the developing brain and may rewire it to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction in the future.
"Educating youth about the dangers of tobacco products has been a cornerstone of our efforts to reduce the harms caused by these products. Including e-cigarettes and other ENDS products in our prevention work not only makes sense, it reflects the troubling reality that they are the most commonly-used tobacco product among youth," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
Impact on General Dentistry: General dentistry has long been on the front line of defense against oral cancer. In that vein, the AGD applauds the FDA’s enhanced efforts to discourage the use of e-cigarettes and other ENDS by kids.