FDA and CDC Launch Anti-Tobacco Advertising Campaigns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are launching new campaigns that feature hard-hitting television ads about the consequences of smoking

‘The Real Cost’

The FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign launched February 11, 2014 on TV and radio, in print, and online. It’s the FDA’s first youth tobacco prevention campaign, and it’s aimed at kids ages 12 – 17 who are likely to try cigarettes, or who have already tried them and are at risk of becoming regular users. According to the FDA, about 10 million young people in the US fall into this category.

The ads are designed to highlight short-term consequences of smoking that research shows teenagers are concerned about. They include the loss of control that comes with addiction and health problems from smoking such as tooth loss and skin damage. One ad shows a teenager buying a pack of cigarettes and pulling out one of his teeth to pay for it. Some of the ads specifically mention menthol cigarettes, which often appeal to new smokers.

The FDA is targeting youth in the ads because almost all tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood. The Surgeon General’s office says if young people can remain free of tobacco until age 18, most will never start smoking. Children and teens who smoke put themselves at risk for nicotine addiction and the many diseases associated with smoking.

‘Tips from Former Smokers’

Earlier this month, the CDC began its third round of ads in its “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign, designed to educate the public about the harmful effects from smoking. According to the CDC, the first wave of the campaign led an estimated 1.6 million smokers to try to quit, and 6 million nonsmokers to speak to friends and family about the dangers of smoking.

Several of the “Tips” ads feature Terrie Hall, who later died of smoking-related cancer at age 53. The ads depict her disfigurement as a result of oral cancer and throat cancer. She had to have her voice box removed, and lost her teeth and hair.

Hall first shared her story through her volunteer work with Relay For Life – the American Cancer Society event that raises money for cancer research, programs, and services – and with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.

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