The Real Cost Campaign

More than 10 million youth aged 12-17 in the United States are either open to trying smoking or are already experimenting with cigarettes—meaning they have tried fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. In fact, every day in the United States, nearly 2,900 youth under age 18 smoke their first cigarette—and more than 700 youth under age 18 become daily cigarette smokers. FDA’s first youth tobacco prevention campaign, “The Real Cost,” launched in February 2014 and continues to reach young people in more than 200 markets across the country through TV, radio, print, the web, social media, and out- of-home sites such as bus shelters. Edgy, innovative, and featuring the young people it seeks to reach, the campaign talks with youth by focusing on the issues they really care about, like loss of control due to addiction and cosmetic health effects. This campaign is the first of many campaigns targeting key audiences that we will launch in the next two years. The goal is to prevent young people who are open to smoking from trying it and to reduce the number of youth who move from experimenting with tobacco to regular use. "The Real Cost” campaign communicates across multiple media platforms including TV, radio, print, and digital.