By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It isn’t easy being a parent, especially when it comes to keeping track of the risky behaviors our kids are exposed to. So if you didn’t realize that youth vaping – the use of devices to heat liquid nicotine into vapor that you inhale – has become a major public health risk of epidemic proportions, you’ve got plenty of company.

But the Food and Drug Administration made it official Wednesday, announcing a crackdown on retailers who sell vaping products to minors and on manufacturers who’ve been successfully marketing their product to kids for years, even though they claim they aren’t. About 12-percent of high school students admitted to vaping in the most recent national survey on the subject, as did three percent of middle-schoolers.

We’ve been down this road before. Remember back in the day when the tobacco industry would hire people to hand out free cigarette samples to kids on the street? Finally, after years of stalling by big tobacco, the feds lowered the boom on them, and cigarette smoking became a social taboo.

The backlash like this ad from a group called Parents Against Vaping is moving a lot faster, and the FDA has given JUUL and the other big vape makers two months to prove they’re serious about preventing youth vaping. But haven’t we all learned by now that when it comes to protecting our kids from exploitation like this, we have to do it ourselves?

If you have kids, talk to them today about vaping, and what nicotine addiction means. If you wait for the government to do it for you, it may be too late.

Your comments are welcome here via email at keller@wbztv.com, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Comments (2)
  1. Theodore Oule says:

    What I find baffling, Jon, are all those people who condemn smoking for the ill that it is who go home at night and light up a stick of marijuana.

    Putting smoke in one’s lungs isn’t healthy, no matter what the substance is that is burning !

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