The FDA is promoting a new campaign it will be running aimed at educating children between the ages of 12 and 17 on the effects of tobacco use. This campaign will focus on the cosmetic and oral health effects smoking and using tobacco products can have. The idea behind the shift in focus, is that often it’s hard to relay the seriousness of long-term effects to people, especially younger teens. Teens are often under the impression that they are immune to developing a dependency on these products. It’s also harder to convince them of the unseen effects tobacco use is having on them. People are less likely to be concerned about the condition of their lungs, and more likely to want to take care of the look and health of their teeth!
What Will It Cost You?
This new FDA campaign is called, “The Real Cost.” One of the first images it released was a picture of a teenage girl with half of her face showing the effects of smoking and tobacco use. She has visible wrinkles around her eyes and a discoloration to her skin. The campaign is targeting more than 10 million kids who are at the age most at risk to start smoking. The FDA believes that if you instill an understanding about the effects of tobacco use at this age, it will remain with teens into their adult life.
The campaign will run on television, radio, print and online and will aim to do the following:
Show what a smoker’s smile looks like.
Teach the relationship between smoking and tooth loss.
Establish a connection between smoking and increased risk of gum disease.
Many of the at risk kids who the campaign is targeting are already experimenting with tobacco products but don’t consider themselves addicted or at risk for becoming addicted. All of the content used in the campaign is evidence-based and targets the effects that teens are most likely to care about. Tooth appearance and loss, and skin damage are among the top concerns for kids of this age. It will also attempt to get across the increase in risk with every cigarette. “The Real Cost” campaign will also acknowledge the financial costs that smoking can result in. Costs like:
Buying tobacco products.
Having corrective cosmetic procedures done.
Having necessary health related procedures done as a result of smoking.
At the end of the campaign which is set to run for a year the FDA will evaluate the results and effectiveness. The FDA will note changes in beliefs, habits, and attitudes towards smokers and tobacco products.
If you’re the parent of child who falls in this age range be sure to talk to them about tobacco use and its risky effects! While oral health is important, this campaign’s initiative also includes preventing smoking’s most serious consequence: lung cancer and premature death.
Make sure to visit a dentist regularly to help maintain your oral health. Call Dr. Bosse of Greenspoint Dental and schedule an appointment today!