The $115 million campaign by the Food and Drug
Administration will target the 10 million people aged 12 to 17 who
are open to trying cigarettes or who are already experimenting with
them and are in danger of becoming regular smokers, the FDA said.
The campaign is the first of several scheduled to be launched over
the next two years that will target at risk, rural, gay, African
American, and American Indian youth.
The goal of the campaigns is to reduce the number of youth cigarette
smokers by at least 300,000 within three years, the FDA said. The
first, called "The Real Cost" campaign, will launch on February 11
and targets marginalized youngsters who may be starting to turn to
tobacco as a way of coping with poor or stressful lives, Mitch
Zeller, head of the FDA's tobacco products division, said at a media
briefing on Monday.
The ads will appear in print and on TV and radio as well as on
billboards and at bus stops, addressing typical teenage issues such
as concerns with appearance and the desire to strike out and become
One series of ads features a bully who demands money. A print ad
shows a small, greasy-haired bully standing inside a school locker
yelling, "Outside Now, Punk." The tag line says: "You wouldn't take
it from a tiny bully, but when you're hooked on tobacco, you're
taking it from a cigarette."
Another series of ads focuses on the cosmetic damage cigarettes can
cause, especially to the skin and teeth.
In one TV ad a young girl goes into a convenience store to buy a
packet of cigarettes. She hands over the money but the clerk says
"it's not enough." The girl reaches up and peels a large piece of
skin off her face and slides it across the counter.
In a similar ad a young man asks for a packet of menthol cigarettes.
When told by the clerk that the money is not enough he takes a
wrench, pulls out one of his teeth, and hands that over too.
The ads, which were created by the advertising agency DraftFCB, a
unit of Interpublic Group have been rigorously tested with the
target audience, Zeller said, adding that he is "very optimistic"
they will achieve the desired results of turning some kids away from
[to top of second column]
To judge whether campaign is successful, the FDA plans to monitor
8,000 young people over two years to measure changes in attitudes
toward tobacco and on behavior before and after the campaign's
Each day, more than 3,200 people under the age of 18 try their
first cigarette and more than 700 become daily smokers, the FDA
Ninety percent of adult smokers start smoking before the age of 18,
"which is why early intervention is so critical," FDA Commissioner
Margaret Hamburg said at the briefing.
The campaigns are expected to cost $400 million altogether. They are
being funded with fees paid to the FDA by the tobacco industry under
a 2009 law that gives the FDA authority to regulate cigarettes,
cigarette tobacco and roll your own tobacco.
The agency is expected shortly to extend its regulatory authority to
electronic cigarettes and cigars. The proposed regulations are
currently being reviewed by the White House's Office of Management
(Reporting by Toni Clarke, editing by
Ros Krasny and David Gregorio)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.