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FDA Announces Inaugural Anti-Tobacco Public Education Campaign Targeting Youth

Statement from John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

February 4, 2014

(ATLANTA) – February 4, 2014 – “The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN are pleased that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exercising its authority under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and undertaking a significant and high-profile effort to reach youth before they become addicted to nicotine.

“The ‘Real Cost’ education campaign, which will include TV, radio and print ads in more than 200 media outlets, comes at a time when many people believe that the tobacco problem is ‘solved’ and that all children and youth understand the immediate and long-term dangers they face from tobacco use. However, although there have been a number of recent successes in tobacco control, the release of the 2014 Surgeon General’s report on smoking last month is a reminder that 3,200 children and youth still start smoking every day and more than 5.6 million children alive today – 1 of every 13 of our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren – will die from a tobacco-related diseases.

“The tobacco industry refers to these children as ‘replacement smokers’ because their role is to fill the places of adults who quit or die from tobacco use. Our children and youth need to understand that tobacco use can not only kill them when they become adults, but it can also cause immediate health and hygiene problems – such as bad breath, tooth loss, breathlessness, chronic bronchitis, premature wrinkling, skin damage and yellow fingers. This education campaign explains the disastrous effects of tobacco use in a way that is compelling and informative to youth, while relying on rigorous scientific evidence. By combining good science with a plan to reach youth through trusted media sources, the campaign has tremendous lifesaving potential.

“The tobacco companies spend nearly $1 million every hour of every day to addict youth to their deadly products. Large-scale public outreach efforts such as this FDA campaign when combined with other proven tobacco control measures, including comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws, significant tobacco tax increases and fully-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs, are the most effective ways to fight back against an unscrupulous and unrelenting industry whose mission is to hook youth as early as possible. ACS CAN fought hard for the FDA’s authority to regulate tobacco products, effectively ending the industry’s unfettered access to lie and deceive the public and addict new customers. The Society and ACS CAN remain committed to leading the nationwide effort to end the tobacco industry’s scourge on our children, and we’re looking forward to the success of the FDA’s ‘Real Cost’ campaign to help in that fight.”

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. We’re finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/fight

About The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Lauren Walens or Elissa McCrary
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network or American Cancer Society
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (404) 417-5823
Email: Lauren.Walens@cancer.org or Elissa.McCrary@cancer.org

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Lauren Walens
Phone: (202) 661-5763
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About ACS CAN

ACS CAN is the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. More

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