FDA Launches Adult Smoking Cessation Campaign at C-stores & Gas Stations
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is launching an adult smoking cessation campaign that will encourage cigarette smokers to quit through messages of support that underscore the health benefits of quitting. Such messages will be displayed in and around convenience stores and gas stations.
Titled "Every Try Counts," the campaign targets smokers ages 25-54 who have made an unsuccessful attempt to quit smoking during the last year. It will kick off in 35 U.S. markets through print, digital, radio and out-of-home ads such as billboards, and run for two years.
"Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.," said U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams. "As Surgeon General, I believe sustained and comprehensive efforts, including the FDA's 'Every Try Counts' campaign, are critical to encouraging more Americans to quit smoking and preventing the harms associated with cigarette use."
According to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the "Every Try Counts" campaign encourages smokers to rethink their next pack of cigarettes at the most critical of places — the point of sale.
"Tobacco companies have long used advertisements at convenience stores and gas stations to promote their products, and we plan to use that same space to embolden smokers to quit instead," said Gottlieb. "The FDA is committed to reducing tobacco-related disease and death by helping people quit combustible cigarettes and implementing comprehensive policies to reduce addiction to nicotine. Our aim is to render cigarettes minimally or non-addictive, while encouraging the development of potentially less harmful tobacco products for adults who still want or need access to nicotine. At the same time, we're also taking new steps to improve access and use of FDA-approved medicinal nicotine products to help smokers quit."
More than 55 percent of adult smokers attempted to quit in 2015, but only around 7 percent succeeded, according to the FDA.
"Every Try Counts" will frame each attempt to quit as a success, as research shows those who have tried once are more likely to try again, and multiple attempts have a higher likelihood of quitting permanent.
Ads will be in place at various locations around the point of sale, such as at gas pumps, and other places in the retail environment, including the front door, cash register and shelves. Studies show that in-store displays and other tobacco advertisements can make quitting more difficult by triggering unplanned cigarette purchases, according to the FDA. Placing campaign ads in the same locations is intended to help disrupt the urge to purchase cigarettes and instead encourage another attempt to quit.
"Tobacco advertising in retail environments can generate a strong urge to smoke, prompting a relapse among those attempting to quit. This campaign offers smokers motivational messages in those environments with the intention to build confidence and instill the belief within each smoker that they are ready to try quitting again," said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "We want smokers to feel good about each attempt to quit because it is getting them closer to one day leading a healthier life free from cigarettes, reducing their risk of tobacco-related death and disease."
The FDA partnered with the National Institute of Health's National Cancer Institute to create EveryTryCounts.gov. The website provides smokers with resources and tools to help with quitting, including a free text message program that sends tips and offers words of encouragement; a mobile app to track smoking triggers; trained coaches who can be reached online or by phone; and information about the risks of smoking and the variety of FDA-approved smoking cessation products.
The American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Truth Initiative have also pledged resources. This includes hosting local smoking cessation events in the "Every Try Counts" target markets.
The campaign fits in with the FDA's comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation. Announced in July, it places nicotine and the issue of addiction at the center of the FDA's tobacco regulation efforts.