FDA's Latest Tobacco Campaign Targets LGBT Young Adults

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled an education campaign aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young adults ages 18-24.

It is the latest installment in the agency's efforts to combat youth tobacco use.

According to the FDA, more than 800,000 LGBT young adults in the United States smoke occasionally. The "This Free Life" campaign is designed to specifically reach the occasional or "social" smokers in the LGBT community.

"We know LGBT young adults in this country are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults," said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "We want LGBT young adults to know that there is no safe amount of smoking. Even an occasional cigarette can have serious health implications and lead to addiction."

The campaign — with the tagline "Freedom to Be, Tobacco-Free" — uses authentic and credible messages to engage LGBT young adults by appealing to their core ideals, similar life experiences and common interests, the agency explained.

"This Free Life" launched in 12 markets in the United States in early May using print, digital and out-of-home ads, as well as outreach at the local level to showcase tobacco-free behaviors and attitudes within the LGBT community. The $35.7-million campaign is funded by user fees collected from the tobacco industry.

The FDA launched "The Real Cost" Smoking Prevention Campaign in February 2014, the "Fresh Empire" Multicultural Tobacco Prevention Campaign in October 2015, and "The Real Cost" Smokeless Tobacco Prevention Campaign last month.

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