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FDA targets teens in new ads to stop smoking

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TYLER (KYTX) - Thousands of people pick up smoking each year, and in many cases, they're teens.

The Food and Drug Administration hopes a new campaign will snuff out smoking.

The FDA is targeting 12-17 year olds in their new campaign "The Real Cost" of smoking.

The reason: most people try their first cigarette by the time they're 18.

You can take it in the literal sense, a pack of cigarettes can run you $7 with tax.

These new commercials are targeting teens about the real cost of smoking.

"The cost of it is astronomical, I spend close to $200 a month," says Katie Tidwell.

Tidwell has cut back on how much she lights up.

She says she picked up the habit when she was 18.

"I got up to over a pack a day, when I quit, I cut it back. I'm at like 5-10 cigarettes a day now," says Tidwell.

"Probably 17, at that time it was even illegal. And then off and on a couple times a year sometimes until I was 20," says Carey Ashcroft.

Ashcroft says she started because her family members were smokers.

"At that age you're thinking about the now, you're not thinking about what's ahead," says Ashcroft.

That's what the Food and Drug Administration hopes to change with it's new campaign "The Real Cost."

The FDA says this age group is at risk to pick up smoking.

About 9 of 10 regular smokers had their first cigarette before they were 18.

Some of the scenes are graphic.

Some feature bullies, all aimed at the health hazards of smoking: damaging skin, gum disease, tooth loss.

But the FDA and reformed smokers say these short commercials could make a difference.

"One of the reasons that I did stop smoking, had a lot to do with the commercials that came out with women with stomas and not being able to communicate with their grandchildren," says Ashcroft.

Even national drug store CVS kicked the habit, announcing it will no longer carry tobacco in stores as of this coming fall.

"For health reasons, I really wish I had quit a long time ago," says Tidwell.

Over the next two years the FDA will launch additional campaigns.

They will target other specific groups in hopes of drastically reducing the number of smokers over the next 3 years.

 

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