FDA Youth Campaign: Cost of Smoking Is More Than Monetary
To deter 10 million at-risk youths from becoming regular smokers, the Food and Drug Administration (or, FDA) has developed an initiative displaying the price a smoker pays. “The Real Cost” is the first youth tobacco prevention campaign by the FDA, and debuts nationally on February 11.
At-risk youths are defined as those aged 12 to 17 who are open to smoking, or have already had between 1 and 99 cigarettes in their lifetimes. An estimated 3,200 youths under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette every day. For more than 700, smoking becomes a daily habit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 88 percent of adult smokers say they began smoking before reaching the age of 18. Like the overall picture of tobacco use in the U.S., youth usage is down, but continued progress has leveled off in the past several years.
Industry user fees will fund the $115 million campaign, which incorporates television, radio, print, and online advertisements in order to educate youths on the dangers of smoking. Crafting the right message was critical for the FDA. The agency used focus groups to test its various messages, and consulted with marketing experts while creating campaign materials.
“The FDA has collaborated with some of the brightest and most creative minds to develop a multimedia initiative designed to make the target audience acutely aware of the risk from every cigarette by highlighting consequences that young people are really concerned about,” Mitchell Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a press release.