FDA to Launch Youth Tobacco Prevention Campaign in Early 2014

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FDA to Launch Youth Tobacco Prevention Campaign in Early 2014

By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News - 12/12/2013

ROCKVILLE, Md. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will put a heavy emphasis on preventing youth tobacco use in the new year.

According to Mitch Zeller, director of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, the agency is embarking on a comprehensive advertising effort to reach at-risk youth. The campaign will launch in early 2014.

Initially, the campaign will target general market, at-risk teens from 12 to 17 years old. The reach will expand to include rural teens, multicultural teens and LGBT teens as 2014 progresses, he explained.

Zeller highlighted the program during Wednesday's webinar, "20 Years Later -- Returning to FDA to Regulate Tobacco. He said the campaign is part of the FDA's responsibility to prevent youth tobacco initiation --a charge given to the agency under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Act passed by Congress in June 2009.

"Our youth education campaign has been in the works for quite a while. The goal is to reach at-risk 12- to 17-year-olds," Zeller said. "You will be able to see in early 2014 how we think we are going to be able to crack the code."

Each year, approximately 300,000 kids under the age of 18 become regular smokers, he added.

"The task ahead of us is enormous and we welcome full participation from [other parties] in all the work we are doing and what lies ahead of us," Zeller said.