FDA launching anti-smoking ads for teens

      File photo (MGN)

      WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCIV) -- The Food and Drug Administration is launching an advertising campaign targeting at-risk teens in highlighting the dangers of smoking.

      The federal agency says the campaign called "The Real Cost" is set to launch Tuesday, Feb. 11 and will include ads on TV and radio. It also will use print and social media.

      "We found that these messages about their appearance, messages aboutlosing control, actually resonated the most with kids," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.

      "The feedback we got from the target audience, these kids, was that thesemessages were understandable. They were powerful. They were meaningful.{} And they made them think about smoking."

      Officials say the $115 million campaign will target more than 10 million young people ages 12 to 17 that are open to, or are already experimenting with, cigarettes.

      The FDA says more than 700 kids under the age of 18 become daily smokers every day.

      "They're just one party away from, or they are on the cusp from either smoking that first cigarette or progressing from experimentation to becoming a regular smoker," said Mitch Zeller of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. "We have insights into what drives them to turn to smoking."

      The ads will run in more than 200 markets throughout the U.S. for at least one year. Tobacco companies will foot the bill through user fees paid to the FDA.

      * The Associated Press contributed to this report