A campaign to educate children and families about the dangers of vaping has been launched by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who was joined in the announcement by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The “Your Body Knows’’ campaigns—one focusing on educating children and another intended for adults—will feature educational advertising (in multiple languages) on television, billboards and social media platforms.

“The vaping industry has been reaping lots of profits, but it is our kids who pay the price, our kids who put their health on the line,’’ Feuer said.

Feuer previewed one of the advertisements from the campaign for the website DisobeyVape.com, where teenagers act out having chest problems after vaping, and computerized imaging shows their bodies being affected by nicotine.

Feuer said changing the behaviors of children can be difficult and that he wants to create more focus groups to grow the campaign.

A dozen people in the United States have died so far this year—including one from Los Angeles County—and more than 800 people have fallen sick due to vaping, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC said it has not yet determined the exact cause of the lung illnesses people have reported.

The CDC in 2017 released a report that breaks down the demographics of American vapers, smokers and other tobacco users. The numbers showed similar levels of switching from smoking to vaping across demographic groups. Across age groups, the report found that the ratio of vapers to smokers is higher for younger people, as expected. It is similar for men and women and across geographic regions. The numbers were markedly higher among persons with at least a high school education, and lower among African-American and Latino persons compared to other groups.

In effect, African-Americans lag behind other groups in the vaping uptick, due primarily, according to the report, to a “cultural contagion” effect (conforming to social pressures) rather than differences in propaganda effects. And while African-American youth are reportedly slightly less likely to engage in vaping, the continued increase in the allure of vaping could easily reverse this finding.

“Let no one be deceived with how serious this vaping problem has become. These lives were cut short for no reason whatsoever. We must act,’’ Becerra said. “This year, we (the California Department of Justice) will be providing $30 million in grant support to city attorneys and county councils, to law enforcement and to school districts … to fight the scourge of tobacco use and misuse.’’

The city’s campaign will be funded with $1.5 million in tobacco tax revenue.

Becerra said any laws created related to vaping need to be progressive and modern to be effective.

“We can only use the tools that are in the statutes, and until we have that, whether its the city level or the state level, we have to operate with what (laws) we have,’’ Becerra said.

On Sept. 19, Feuer called for a citywide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. He specifically referenced flavors found in cereal, candy and fruits which are duplicated in products that he wants taken off the market.

The city attorney sent a report to the Los Angeles City Council outlining restrictions that have been enacted in other cities and states which aim to curtail sales of electronic cigarettes, hookah devices and other products that distribute nicotine. Some of the prohibitions suggested include regulating vaping advertising or coupons, as well as consideration of an outright ban on the substances and devices.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took the first steps in banning flavored tobacco on Sept. 24. The proposed ordinance will come back to the board for a second reading as early as this week, and would take effect 30 days after that second vote. Tobacco retailers would then have 180 days, under an amendment proposed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, to obtain new licenses required under the ordinance and to clear their shelves of flavored tobacco products.

Michigan this month became the first state to impose a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes.