As part of ongoing efforts to protect adolescents from tobacco, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an education campaign to prevent e-cigarette use and vaping among America Indian and Alaska Native youth in June 2022.
Using social media advertisements and traditional platforms like billboards, the Next Legends campaign educates American Indian and Alaska Native youth aged 12–17 about the harms and consequences of vaping.
FDA identified an educational gap among the 400,000 Native teens living in the United States today after finding evidence of excessively high experimentation and current use of e-cigarettes by Native teens compared to their non-Native peers.
“The Next Legends campaign is an important and creative way to educate Native youth about the harms of vaping,” Michele Mital, acting director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said. “E-cigarettes are the most used tobacco product among youth, and they pose serious health risks if used during adolescence, when the brain is still developing. Next Legends builds on the success of previous youth e-cigarette prevention campaigns while also addressing health disparities among Native Americans and Alaska Natives associated with tobacco use. Communicating with Native youth through culturally aligned messages will help these young people make informed decisions about healthy behavior, including being vape-free.”
As frontline healthcare providers, oncology nurses have many opportunities to educate communities about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping. Oncology nurses should be aware of the long-term implications of tobacco and advocate for change to combat the growing epidemic of underage vaping.