There are new concerns that young people are now dealing with multiple health crises.
Mental health has worsened during the pandemic, according to federal data and peer-reviewed research. At the same time, sales of e-cigarettes have risen to record highs.
“But young people don't know that. In fact, what we hear from young people often is they start vaping because they think it's going to help them with their stress and anxiety, which is actually the worst thing they can do,” said Robin Koval, the CEO and president of Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco group.
Truth Initiative says research shows that e-cig users have double the odds of a depression diagnosis compared to those who have never vaped. That's according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
They also say research shows mental health improves once someone stops using e-cigarettes.
Truth Initiative says numbers only do so much, so they're finding a different way to send their message.
They’re running a new ad on TikTok. In it, a man sells fake e-cigarette products with flavors like "citrus sadness" or "disappoint-mint." The man tries to get convenience stores and social media influences to sell his product with an unusual sales pitch.
“Because what we really want to point out is, you know, we're going to tell you the truth. These are the facts that the tobacco industry and vaping companies won't tell you,” said Koval.
Truth Initiative hopes this will help young people remember the negative effects of vaping.
They also are pointing to resources like their text message service. Nearly 400,000 people have signed up. They say it was found to be 40% more effective at helping people quit than trying to do it alone. People can join by texting “ditch vape” to 88709.
This new campaign comes just as the FDA delayed a major decision on whether to ban the majority of flavored e-cigarette products. The agency has not set a new date on when it might decide.