The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an ad campaign that is the largest effort yet by the government to curb the use of tobacco amongst teens that are at-risk.
The media campaign of $115 million was born from the new FDA authority to regulate tobacco, given through a law enacted in 2009.
The ads are aimed at the close to 10 million teens in the U.S. who are thinking about smoking or are experimenting with tobacco, said the FDA.
Many kids “at risk” look at smoking as a coping mechanism to give them help in dealing with problems caused by violence, poverty or turmoil in the family.
Although the first set of new ads will be directed at a broad group of teens, the next campaigns will target some specific groups like Native Americans and gay teens.
Ads will air on MTV, YouTube, in Teen Vogue and other forms of social media.
The ad campaign was based upon studies that have shown teens are often worried about how they appear instead of their risk over the long tern of developing cancer.
One ad depicts a female attempting to purchase cigarettes in a store. When the sales clerk say she does not have enough to pay for the cigarettes, the girl scrapes part of her cheek off that reveals wrinkles underneath and then hands over her youthful looking skin to the store clerk.
This campaign comes following a new report from the surgeon general released in January that calculated over 5.6 million children in the U.S. will die from illnesses related to tobacco, unless the U.S. takes action immediately to lower the overall smoking rates.
Nearly 3,200 teens experiment with their first cigarette every day and 700 then become smokers for their lifetime, says the FDA.
The effort to educated teens over the dangers of smoking comes from the expanded authority given the FDA to regulate tobacco that was given to the regulatory agency through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act in 2009.
The FDA used the law in 2009 when it created the cigarette pack graphic warnings, an appeals court however struck down the warning labels two years ago.