FDA launches youth tobacco prevention campaign

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is launching a national public education campaign targeting at-risk youths ages 12 to 17 with "real cost" messages about the cosmetic, oral, and other health consequences of tobacco use.

"Cost" is the main theme, getting teens to think about the range of costs associated with smoking, beyond money, the FDA said.

The campaign is aimed youths who experiment with cigarettes but do not consider themselves smokers, don't think they will become addicted smokers, and are not particularly interested in the topic of tobacco.

The campaign stresses the costs of tobacco use that resonate with teens -- for example, cosmetic health effects such as tooth loss and skin damage.

The campaign will start with cigarettes and expand to smokeless and other tobacco products. The first TV ads will air February 11, extending across online, offline, print, radio, social, and other media platforms for at least a year.

The messages include the following:

  • See what your smile could look like if you smoke
  • Smoking cigarettes can cause yellow teeth
  • Smoking causes bad breath and gum disease, which could cost you your teeth

The U.S. Surgeon General's 50th anniversary review of tobacco science updates evidence on the implications for oral health from tobacco use and the "expanding use of multiple products or the replacement of conventional combustible cigarettes with other nicotine delivery systems."

New tobacco prevention campaigns that reach 75% to 85% of the target audience within one year can expect to produce attitude and behavior change within two years if the time in market is adequately sustained, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ADA supports FDA regulation of all tobacco products, including those with risk reduction or exposure reduction claims, explicit or implicit, and any other products offered to the public to promote reduction in or cessation of tobacco use.

The $115 million campaign, including research and media ads in more than 200 markets, is funded by industry user fees.

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