New Ad Campaign Appeals to Teens’ Vanity to Curb Smoking

Reprinted from ABC News – In its latest battle against under-aged tobacco use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is banking on two things that are important to teens — having control of their lives and looking good.

The FDA is unveiling a national campaign today intended to reduce the number of teens — in particular, those between the ages of 12 and 17.

“We really tried to develop messages that would mean something to kids,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told ABC News.

“We did a lot of research with public health experts and marketing experts,” Hamburg said. With kids in the targeted age group, “we found that these messages about their appearance — wrinkling skin, premature damaged gums, tooth loss — and also messages about losing control resonated the most with kids.”

The $115 million TV, radio and print ad campaign begins nationwide Feb. 11 on media frequented by teens, including MTV and Teen Vogue, and will continue for at least the next year, officials said.

More than 3,200 teens in the United States try their first cigarette each day and more than 700 kids under 18 become daily smokers, according to the FDA.

In one commercial, a teen girl who doesn’t have enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes peels off a piece of her cheek as payment. The tag line says: “What do cigarettes cost? Your smooth skin. Smoking causes wrinkles and aging prematurely.” Read more…

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