The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a national public education anti-smoking campaign aimed at teens to prevent tobacco use and reduce the number of kids between ages 12-17 years old using tobacco. The campaign launched Tuesday across multiple media platforms.
“The Real Cost” campaign is FDA’s first youth tobacco prevention campaign. It targets at-risk youth who are already smoking or are open to experimenting with cigarettes, aiming at keeping them from becoming regular smokers. The campaign will air in more than 200 markets across the country for at least one year.
According to the FDA, every day more than 3,200 youth under the age 18 in the United Stated try their first cigarette and more then 700 kids under age 18 become daily smokers.
Christi Gregory, head nurse for Cleburne ISD said she thinks the campaign is excellent and believes it will be a successful program.
“Any program that prevents youth trying that first cigarette is beneficial,” Gregory said. “Youth are so impressionable during 12-17 years of age. We need to encourage them to not pick up the first cigarette. This program has several videos and promotions to show what happens to your body when you smoke.”
The main approach the campaign is taking is dramatizing the health consequences of smoking by graphically depicting tooth loss and skin damage. In one TV ad it shows a teen not being able to afford a pack of cigarettes so she compensates by ripping out patches of her skin to pay the clerk. In other ads young children are shown with wrinkled faces.
Marci Thompson, Wheat Middle School counselor said she believes this approach will be beneficial in targeting teens more than any other anti-smoking campaign.
“The campaigns before didn’t seem to have a grasp of their future,” Thompson said. “Before they would show kids pictures of what their lungs would look like when they were 80 years old and they just don’t care. [This campaign] targets this age group by showing how smoking will affect them now rather than when they’re 80.”