Vaping has become quite popular with the teens, and the FDA has become so worried it’s launching a full-on PR assault to convince teens to just say no. Unfortunately, it’s new ad is sick as hell and actually makes vaping look way cooler than it is.
Motherboard first flagged the campaign that’s been dubbed “The Real Cost,” and points out that it plays kind of like an update on the classic “this is your brain on drugs” ads of the ‘90s. When I was younger, those ads mostly confused me, but these new ones are filled with all kinds of rad effects and badass transformations that are certain to appeal to the kids of today.
Tobacco use has overall been on the decline among teens for years while vaping has become the nicotine delivery system that teens prefer, prompting the FDA to declare the Juul-centric phenomenon an epidemic. Kids have always smoked, and now that we have these nifty devices that might be safer, don’t make you smell like smoke, and come with tasty flavors, teens are taking the logical step into vape-land.
But why do teens smoke? Well, for one it looks kind of cool, but vapes themselves don’t look nearly as cool as a cigarette. You wouldn’t catch James Dean using a clunky device that looks like an asthma inhaler. If we’re going to consider it from a Freudian perspective, teens are rapidly becoming their true selves and sexual beings—a process that inevitably comes with impulses towards self-destruction and, if not a longing for death, a willingness to flirt with it. With the science still out on whether vaping is deadly, a cucumber flavored Juul pod just doesn’t have that sweet taste of mortality. Enter the FDA’s CGI-laden body horror to get this party started:
What’s that you say? Scientists believe that vaping may be useful for harm reduction but that one cinnamon flavor might cause damage to human cells? Don’t worry about that ambiguity because, if you just watch this ad, you’ll see that taking a puff from a vape is more like a morbid acid trip in which your body undergoes rapid changes but you have control over how and when those chaotic ripples occur. Your body literally goes viral—and you didn’t even have to poison yourself with a Tide Pod and post your hospitalization on YouTube.
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After watching that video, tell me if this still was shot by the FDA or a screengrab of Justin Timberlake in the 2007 flick Southland Tales:
I don’t know the answer either, all I know is both look fucking awesome.
Having started smoking in high school and finding myself still doing it in my thirties, I’ll say I wish that vapes were around back in my time. It’s too late for me. Not only do I not care about looking cool anymore, but the vape just doesn’t have the same kick. I will say that I still long for death from time-to-time, so if anything’s going to convince me to switch to vape life its this incredibly metal ad campaign.