Health

Published on February 4th, 2014

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FDA Releases Ads Aimed at Snuffing out Smoking among Teens

A young woman taking off a piece of her own skin.  A young man wrenching out a tooth to pay for a pack. Cigarettes depicted as bullies demanding teenagers’ time. These are the scenes the FDA is hoping will get teens to consider the real costs of smoking.

The agency today unveiled a new advertising campaign called “The Real Cost” that includes print ads, YouTube videos, television commercials, and digital games aimed at preventing teens from becoming daily smokers. Each day, more than 3,000 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette in the U.S., according to the agency.

The ads, which will begin running Feb. 11, come at a time when the FDA is back to the drawing board on graphic warning labels for cigarettes themselves and Big Tobacco is working with the Department of Justice to launch “corrective statements” in print and television ads owning up to the fact that the companies knew tobacco was addictive and that smoking cigarettes could lead to death. It also comes as the FDA is considering whether to tighten regulations on e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but not tobacco. E-cigarette use has doubled among children between 2011 and 2012, and health officials are concerned they are a gateway to traditional cigarettes.

The ads, which reportedly cost $115 million, will also be featured in publications aimed at teens, such as MTV.

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