The Real Cost: An Anti-Smoking Campaign for Teens that Speaks Their Language
We all know about the risks of cigarette smoking, from premature death—years of smoking shave about 10 years off your life—to a greater risk for a wide range of diseases. But did you know that most people who die from smoking-related causes started smoking before the age of 18?
To reach teens who smoke or who are at risk of smoking, and to give them facts about smoking in their language, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products has launched the Real Cost campaign (www.therealcost.gov). The “costs” are geared to teen issues and concerns, including physical beauty. For example, from perusing the site, teens learn that smoking “can harm your skin by destroying its elastic fibers and weakening its ability to repair itself. This can lead to wrinkles and other signs of premature aging.” And “smokers have more lung infections than nonsmokers.8 They are also more likely to have a serious gum infection that can lead to tooth loss.9”
The language is direct, easy to understand, and carries a punch: “Every time you smoke, your body is under attack.” The facts are laid out without drama—but are unambiguous about the deadly costs of smoking: “…teens who smoke may end up as adults with lungs that never grow to their potential or perform at full capacity.15 Such damage is permanent and increases the risk of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.16”
Inform your teen about the site and peruse it yourself. Kids learn they are more vulnerable to nicotine and become more easily addicted. And if you’re still smoking, you may find enough information on the site to give quitting another try.