FDA launches new program that urges teens to avoid cigarettes - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

FDA launches new program that urges teens to avoid cigarettes

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Do you think this campaign will prevent teenage smoking? Do you think this campaign will prevent teenage smoking?
(WTVM) -

The Food and Drug Administration is launching a new campaign Tuesday called "The Real Cost". It's goal is to stop teenagers from smoking and encourage those that already smoke to quit. More than 10 million young people ages 12 to 17 are open to or already experimenting with cigarettes.

According to the FDA, nearly 90 percent of adult smokers started smoking when they were 18, and more than 700 kids under 18 start smoking every day. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says most teens understand the risks of smoking but don't think the long-term consequences apply to them.

"The feedback we got from the target audience, these kids, was these messages were understandable, they were powerful, they were meaningful and they made them think about smoking," said Hamburg.

The ads will show people with yellow teeth and wrinkled skin. One graphic ad even shows teens using their own skin and teeth to pay for cigarettes. Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, says the new campaign is "compelling, provocative, and somewhat graphic..."

The ads will run on popular teen TV stations such as MTV, in magazines like Teen Vogue, and also on social media sites beginning Feb. 11th and will run for one year.

The multimedia education campaign costs $115 million, however tobacco companies are footing the bill. A law created in 2009, gave the FDA authority to regulate the tobacco industry and the campaign will use fees collected by the agency.

The FDA aims to reduce the number of young smokers by at least 300,000 within three years. They will follow 8,000 people ages 11 to 16 for two years to find out if their knowledge, attitude, and behavior toward tobacco changes because of the ads. Future campaigns will target specific audiences and age groups. Some of those target audiences will include pregnant women, minorities, homosexuals, and people in the military.

The campaign comes after a new report was recently released by the Surgeon General that concludes cigarette smoking kills close to half a million Americans every year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related conditions. The report also notes that about 5.6 million children in America will ultimately die prematurely from smoking related diseases unless smoking rates drop.

Do you think these ads will stop young people from smoking? Take our poll and let us know.

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