The tobacco industry has invested a significant amount of time and money in marketing that connects commercial tobacco products that contain nicotine with stress relief and mental well-being. The CDC reports that many of today’s youth may turn to commercial tobacco products that contain nicotine as a way to cope with stress. However, nicotine is a highly addictive drug that has been shown to worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially among youth who are suffering from nicotine dependence and attempt to quit. E-cigarettes, an electronic device that heats liquid and produces aerosol, are the most popular commercial tobacco product youth use. These devices typically contain nicotine and come in several enticing flavors including candy, fruit and menthol, making them highly addictive and dangerous. In 2023, more than 1.97 million middle and high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes, with 34.7% reporting frequent use. This is specifically concerning as youth show symptoms of nicotine dependence when using commercial tobacco products for only 1-3 days a month. Simultaneously, youth mental health is a continued concern, with U.S. Surgeon General declaring it a public health crisis in 2022.

To address the connection between vaping nicotine and its adverse effects on youth mental health, the Truth Initiative recently released a new campaign titled “Toxic Therapy from your Vape”. The campaign features 1) 5 animated videos, including “Texting Anxiety”, “Hypnotherapy”, and “Sleep Exercises”, 2) an immersive experience that gives youth relevant resources, additional coping mechanisms and cessation resources and 3) highlights the adverse effects that nicotine use has on sleep, which is important for good mental health. This campaign is designed to show the detrimental impact that vaping nicotine can have on youth mental health while also providing relevant resources for cessation and healthy coping mechanisms.