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FDA Gets Aggressive In Fight Against Teen Tobacco Use

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DENVER (CBS4) – For the first time ever the Food and Drug Administration is targeting teens and tobacco.

Next week the FDA will launch an education campaign to try to prevent teens from smoking and the compelling new ads don’t sugar coat the effects of smoking. The hope is they will shock young people into never taking a puff.

“We’ve got to help these kids hit the figurative pause button, if you will, and have them re-think whether they’re going to take that first puff.” Mitch Zeller with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said.

The $115 million media blitz is called “The Real Cost.” The TV ads are intense. The campaign is carefully designed to resonate with ages 12 to 17.

“It’s estimated that about 700 teenagers start smoking every single day,” said Dr. David Tinkelman, Medical Director of the National Jewish Health quit lines.

“These kinds of programs slowly but surely are reducing the use of tobacco products in the United States,” he said.

The ads don’t lecture, but graphically expose the real cost of smoking.

“Some 480,000 people die each year because of tobacco use and it costs our health care system some $289 billion a year,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.

There will be little chance of escaping the campaign. Ads will hit TV, radio, magazines, social media and even the mall to grab the attention of 10 million young people.

The FDA will evaluate the impact of the campaign by following 8,000 young people for two years to assess changes in attitudes about tobacco and behaviors.

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