Sixteen-year-old TikTok sensation Charli D’Amelio raised plenty of eyebrows recently, and not for her dance moves or lip-syncing. The teen was seen on the Twitter feed of the news account PerezHilton smiling as she takes a hit off what appears to be a vape device, and then blowing out a large plume of vapor.
“#TikTok’s most-followed creator, @CharliDamelio, who turned 16 in May, is all smiles after taking a hit of whatever she’s vaping,” the caption reads. Many followers — D’Amelio has about 80 million of them — defended her, with one person tweeting, “This is not abnormal 16-year-old behavior.” Unfortunately, they’re right. It’s not.
Vape companies like JUUL have been criticized for marketing their products to teens by selling candy-flavored vapes and recruiting social media influencers popular with teens to promote their products. Those efforts have resulted in a teen vaping epidemic, and schools have been forced to reallocate time and money to address teen vaping and addiction in schools.
Another follower tweeted a response: “It’s illegal. So no. Vaping is not legal for kids — period.”
That’s true, too. Congress passed a federal Tobacco 21 law that went into effect on Dec. 20, 2019, when President Trump signed it into law. It requires a minimum age of 21 to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products, but the motivation behind the legislation was clearly concern over teen vaping. E-liquids contain nicotine — some as many as a full pack of cigarettes. In February, flavored vapes were officially banned.
D’Amelio has not commented publicly on the video.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives. Recognizing the critical threat to young people ensnared by nicotine addiction, and its effect on our nation’s educational system, our firm has also joined other nationally recognized law firms to represent school districts and public entities across the country in the fight to stop the school vaping crisis.