FDA Reveals New Anti-Smoking Campaign For Teens

    February 4, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today revealed a new anti-smoking ad campaign targeted at teens. The ads will be geared toward preventing teens aged 12 to 17 from ever smoking cigarettes. The agency estimates that 10 million teens in that age range have smoked a cigarette or would be open to doing so.

The campaign is titled “The Real Cost” and uses what the FDA is calling a “comprehensive multimedia approach.” The campaign will use print ads, radio ads, online ads, and TV ads in conjunction with facts about smoking to discourage teens from picking up the habit.

“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,” said Mitchell Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA.

The new campaign will be evaluated over time by the FDA to measure its effectiveness. Some of the early ads will zero-in on menthol cigarettes, mentioning that they pose the same health risks as normal cigarettes. Future “The Real Cost” ads will highlight smoking risks for specific demographics such as “multicultural” teens, rural teens and LGBT teens.

The centerpiece of the campaign is a series of 30-second “The Real Cost” TV ads. While some of the ads are purposefully disturbing about the health consequences of smoking, others highlight the control that addiction has over smokers’ lives using a bully metaphor: