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Vaper Madness: The Latest Chapter In Public Service Announcement Hysteria?

A man using a vape device.
A man using a vape device.
Jane Khomi/Getty Images

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Ad campaigns calling out the dangers of vaping have been in regular rotation on radio and television for several years now, since the start of the vaping craze, but those ads seem to be amplified in the wake of the recent spate of people who have ended up hospitalized, or even dead in some cases, due to lung injuries associated with vaping.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that people not vape until there’s more information about the potential health risk.

Personal feelings about the potential risks of vaping aside, it’s hard to ignore the ubiquity of the billboards, bus benches and broadcast public service ads. One particular campaign from Tobacco Free California says teens who vape are more likely to have high levels of anxiety, irritability, and more frequent mood swings. One ad shows a teen storming off from a family dinner to vape after being told to remove headphones at the table.

Another depicts a young girl at her locker, snapping at another girl asking her a question because she’s irritable from a lack of nicotine. Public health crises often generate these sorts of very targeted, highly-visible ad campaigns in the hopes of spreading awareness  (think AIDS awareness in the mid 80s or anti-tobacco in the 90s and 00s), but without a bit of context there is also a risk that the ads could actually contribute to misinforming the public.

Do you find these kinds of PSAs or ad campaigns effective, or do you feel they create more alarmism than they do inform the public? Has an ad campaign like this ever changed your opinion on an issue? Join the conversation at 866-893-5722