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FDA’s Latest Anti-Tobacco Campaign Targets Youth

Update Date: Feb 04, 2014 09:32 AM EST

Over the past few years, the United States government and individual state governments have launched many anti-tobacco campaigns. These campaigns that encourage smokers to quit by using images, stories and facts have mostly been centered on adults. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that its latest $115 million anti-tobacco campaign will focus on the youth.

According to the FDA, this campaign, which will be the first of many scheduled to be released over the next two years, will target children between the ages of 12 and 17. More specifically, the campaign will focus on at-risk categories, which include children from rural areas, homosexuals, African Americans and American Indians. These roughly 10 million adolescents tend to have a greater risk of experimenting with cigarettes. A huge percentage of the smokers today picked up the habit during their teenage years.

The first campaign, "The Real Cost" will be launched next week, February 11. This campaign will be centered on marginalized teenagers who turn to drugs as a coping mechanism. It includes a series of advertisements that will be aired on TV and the radio and printed on billboards and bus stops. The content of the ads ranges from the physical effects of smoking, such as skin and teeth damage to bullies. DraftFCB, an advertising agency, created the ads.

One of the ads includes a young girl who tries to buy a pack of cigarettes. When she is told that she does not have enough money, she rips a portion of her facial skin out in order to pay for the cigarettes. Another ad uses the exact same concept and scene but with a boy instead, who pulls out a tooth to use as extra money to pay for the pack of menthol cigarettes.

The campaigns aim to cut the number of youth cigarette smokers by at least 300,000 over the next three years. The campaigns cost around $400 million all together. On top of launching these campaigns, the FDA plans on tracking 8,000 youth over the next two years to monitor for any changes in behaviors and attitudes when it comes to tobacco.

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