If there’s one thing cool teens respect, it’s an adult who has devoted their life to the craft of street magic.
So says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which released its first anti-vaping ads on Monday as part of their new “The Real Cost” campaign to prevent the use of e-cigarettes among teens. The ads star Julius Dein, a magician and illusionist with nearly 800,000 followers on YouTube, and 6.1 million followers on Instagram, approaching groups of youths, and turning their vapes into cigarettes, like a dirtbag Jesus.
“Some people think that vaping is no big deal, but that is just an illusion,” Dein says in the commercials.
“Why don’t you smoke cigarettes?” he asks one teen who hands him a Juul.
“Because it’s not 1950 anymore, bro,” the vaper responds.
Dein says, “Alright,” and then proceeds to push the Juul through his clenched fist, and out the other end comes — you’re not gonna believe it — a cigarette.
“Damn,” says the vaper. “You just went back in time.”
The commercial is set to air on ESPN, MTV, TeenNick, and CW. In addition to the illusions, the FDA will distribute posters for high-school bathrooms that say things like, “You might as well flush your lungs while you’re at it. Vaping can deliver toxic metal particles like nickel, lead and chromium directly into your lungs.” Ah!
Increased e-cigarette use among teens is a fast growing problem. According to the FDA’s website, between 2017 and 2018, e-cigarette use rose 78 percent among high-schoolers (11.7 percent to 20.8 percent), and 48 percent among middle-schoolers (3.3 percent to 4.9 percent). The FDA is cracking down on vapes, and in November, Juul announced it would no longer sell most of its flavored pods in stores, and that it would stop promoting its products online.
Still, the FDA is going to have to get a lot of street magicians to counteract the impact Juul’s best guerilla PR agent: Sophie Turner.