FDA to Collaborate with Hip-Hop Culture in Anti-Smoking Campaign

October 15th 2015
Allison Bitonti-Brito, PharmD (Candidate)

A new campaign is directed at teens in the multicultural hip-hop crowd who are, unfortunately, frequently exposed to tobacco marketing.

Although the use of cigarettes has decreased among teens, hookah and electronic cigarette use have gone up. According to a report by theCDC, in 2014, nearly 25 of every 100 high school students (24.6%) and 8 of every 100 middle school students (7.7%) in the United States used some type of tobacco product. If these percentages continue to rise,5.6 millionof today’s American youth (individuals younger than 18 years of age) will die early from a tobacco-related illness. These statistics highlight a need to educate teens on the dangers of using tobacco products.

TheFDA recently announcedthe launch of “Fresh Empire,” a campaign targeted at teens that are at a higher risk for using tobacco products. This new campaign is directed at teens (12 to 17 years of age) in the multicultural hip-hop crowd who are, unfortunately, frequently exposed to tobacco marketing. Hip-hop culture has a strong presence and influence on today’s youth. The culture can promote ambition and creativity. The FDA’s campaign looks to promote this ambition and creativity by focusing on the trendsetting and confident nature of hip-hop youth in an effort to remind teens that part of being in control of yourself means being tobacco-free. The campaign will feature television ads and community social events focus on delivering tobacco education to raise awareness.

Fresh Empire began on October 12th and will run for at least 2 years. Financial support for the program will come from tobacco user fees (totaling $128 million dollars.) Fresh Empire is an addition to the FDA’s continued “The Real Cost” campaign to combat teen cigarette smoking. Both campaigns will be evaluated for efficacy in preventing and reducing teen smoking over time.

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