SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – While most teens know about the serious health risks of using tobacco, they still don’t believe the long-term consequences can affect them.
The Food and Drug Administration is launching a new 115 million dollar campaign called “The Real Cost.”
It’s aimed at stopping teenagers from smoking by focusing on issues that matter to them: outer appearance and their personal lives.
Teens at Springfield’s Central High School gathered around the table to preview the new FDA commercials.
If lung cancer won’t scare them, will they rethink tobacco use when it comes to the way they look?
Tearing off a piece of skin, or pulling out a tooth to pay for cigarettes are the visuals in two of the commercials.
“I just don’t like gory stuff I guess,” says student Malyun Lai, grade 10.
But for most students, this wasn’t graphic enough. Yaziel Rivera, Grade 10, says, “I think teens now a days can handle it.”
Even though the actors are the same age, they still cannot relate to the long-term consequences.
“Maybe if I was 30 and watching that I would care but right now I wouldn’t really, whatever,” says Vladislav Tsvor, Grade 12.
Students worry about what’s happening to them now which is why the commercial “Bully” has the most impact.
It uses a humor tactic with a serious undertone, a man bullying teens and taking their freedom. The tag at the end: “Cigarettes are bullies, don’t let cigarettes control you.”
“That one was kind of funny… Yeah i like that one,” the students agree.
Vladislav Tsvor, says, “You get it you get what they’re trying to say. It’s going to take your time, take your money. It’s like forcing you to do stuff and as normal teenagers we don’t want to be forced to do stuff because its affecting us immediately.” Lai adds.
One student points out that the social impact could cause her to think twice.
“It did kind of hit home because I do smoke and it does interfere with my personal life. In school I have to wait until I get home to have one, at my boyfriend’s I have to go outside beacause his grandma has asthma,” says senior Jocelyn Christiansen.
According to the FDA, 90 percent of smokers have started by age 18.
“The Real Cost” ads can be seen on TV, social media sites, and in magazines. The FDA has a goal of reducing the number of youth cigarette smokers by 300,000 within three years.