The FDA have this week enlisted an arcane ally in their war on American vaping. Magician Julius Dein stars in a series of adverts in their latest PR push to combat the alleged rise of youth vaping. Major networks like ESPN, MTV and Nickelodeon will be running the ads, which will also feature on social media.
These magical messages show Dein, who has 800,000 Youtube followers, take to the streets to educate vapers. One trick shows Dein turning a vaping device into a cigarette before our eyes; suggesting somewhat bizarrely that there is no difference between the two.
This new campaign reflects the acting FDA commissioner’s broader hostility to the vaping sector. Ned Sharpless MD said ‘its imperative that our work to tackle this immensely concerning trend continue to include efforts to educate our nation’s youth about the dangers of these products’.
Those teens unlucky enough to miss the FDA’s advertising on television will get another chance to see it when posters magically appear in their high school bathrooms later this year.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, lawmakers are busy conjuring up their own attack on vaping. Republican Representative Jerry Miller will sponsor a 2020 bill to tax vaping at the same rate as cigarettes. He describes the move as a ‘win-win scenario’, aimed at protecting teens and pregnant mothers.
Rep. Miller also notes that the move will conveniently raise ‘badly needed revenue for the state’, estimated at around $35m a year. Any magician would be proud of that sleight of hand.
Whether it is prohibition, taxation or plain old magic, it seems that the US will continue to use any tools available to put pressure on the vaping industry. On this side of the Atlantic, we’re encouraged that the Government’s latest green paper positions vaping as part of the solution to smoking, rates of which continue to fall in the UK.