The Food and Drug Administration’s “The Real Cost” campaign prevents 587,000 youth from starting smoking and saves more than $53 billion, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The campaign was launched in 2014 and has reached up to 95% of teens aged 12-17 through television, digital, social and radio platforms. The study states that more than 21.9 million youth have spent time on the campaign’s TheRealCost.gov website. Although the study started with cigarette smoking prevention, it has expanded to include smokeless tobacco and e-cigarette use.
“As someone who has dedicated his life to reducing the public health burden and suffering caused by cancer, it is all too clear that we must do everything we can to prevent kids from starting down a path of a lifelong addiction to tobacco and its associated harms,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless in a statement. “At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a critical component of our work to protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death has been to deploy highly successful campaigns to educate them about the dangers of using these products. And these efforts are yielding tremendous results that are benefitting our nation’s youth and society as a whole and are being carried over into our work to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use.”
As part of the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, the FDA also focuses their attention on manufacturers and retailers who sell tobacco products. This includes stressing the importance of not marketing products to minors in TV and social media ads.