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FDA To Launch Anti-Tobacco Campaign Aimed At Youths

tobaccoThe Food and Drug Administration will launch a notable anti-tobacco campaign on February 11, 2014 that is aimed towards vulnerable teenagers who are at risk of becoming regular smokers.[1] The $115 million campaign will target the 10 million Americans, aged 12 to 17, who are thinking of, or already are, experimenting with cigarettes.1 This is the first of several campaigns scheduled to be launched over the next two years.1

The campaign’s goal is to reduce the number of youth cigarette smokers by 300,000 over the next three years.1 The first campaign, called “The Real Cost” will launch on February 11, targeting youth who may start using tobacco as a way of coping with stress.1 The advertisements will be everywhere: in print, on television, over the radio, on billboards and bus stops, addressing the typical teenage concern such as appearance and independence.1

One of the ads features a school bully who demands money from another student.1 The small, greasy bully is pictured inside of a school locker, yelling, “Outside now, punk!”1 The tag line: “You wouldn’t take it from a tiny bully, but when you’re hooked on tobacco, you’re taking it from a cigarette.”1

Another series of ads focuses on the cosmetic damages cigarettes cause, specifically to the skin and teeth.1 In one ad, a young girl visits a convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes.1 When she hands over the money, the clerk tells her that she doesn’t have enough.1 The girl proceeds to peel a large piece of skin off her face and slide it across the counter.1

A similar ad shows a young man asking for a pack of menthol cigarettes, and when told he doesn’t have enough money to cover it, takes out a wrench and pulls out one of his teeth to make up the difference.1

The ads were created by the advertising agency DraftFCB, a unit of Interpublic Group, that are quite optimistic that they will achieve their desired results, as their work has been rigorously tested with their target audience.1

According to the FDA, more than 3,200 people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day, with more than 700 becoming regular daily smokers.1 As 90 percent of all adult smokers began before the age of 18, early intervention is critical.1

The campaign is set to cost $400 million total, funded with fees the tobacco industry is required to pay the FDA under a 2009 law.1

As cigarettes cause cancer, heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, stroke, gum disease, cataracts, bone thinning, peptic ulcers, and more, shortening a person’s life by at least 13 years, it is important that our youth be steered away from starting this unhealthy habit.1

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