FDA Announces Public Education Campaign to Encourage Smoking Cessation

Jaime Rosenberg

As smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, such as COPD, and death in the United States, the FDA has launched an educational campaign aimed at promoting smoking cessation. The “Every Try Counts” campaign will set its focus on smokers aged 25-34 who have tried smoking in the last year but were unsuccessful.

Targeting where cigarette sales take place, the 2-year campaign will advertise messages of support that place emphasis on the benefits of quitting throughout locations such as gas stations and convenience stores. These retail locations are where smokers face a multitude of triggers that typically include cigarette advertisements, according to the FDA. 

“The ‘Every Try Counts’ campaign encourages smokers to rethink their next pack of cigarettes at the most critical of places—the point of sale,” said FDA Scott Gottlieb, MD, in a statement. “Tobacco companies have long used advertisements at convenience stores and gas stations to promote their products, and we plan to use that same space to embolden smokers to quit instead.”

The campaign will focus on celebrating each quit attempt as a positive step towards quitting because research has shown that those who have tried quitting are likely to try again, and those who have tried multiple times have an increased likelihood of quitting for good. 

Smoking is the leading modifiable risk factor for COPD. According to the CDC, smoking accounts for as many as 8 out of 10 COPD-related deaths. Particularly, smoking during childhood and teenage years can slow the growth and development of lungs, further increasing the risk of developing COPD in adulthood. 

“Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US,” said US Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, in a statement. “As Surgeon General, I believe sustained and comprehensive efforts, including the FDA’s ‘Every Try Counts’ campaign, are critical to encouraging more Americans to quit smoking and preventing the harms associated with cigarette use.”

The FDA has teamed up with the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute to create EveryTryCounts.Gov. The site provides smokers resources and tools to help them in their journey to quitting, such as a free text message program that sends tips and offers words of encouragement. Other resources include: a mobile app to track smoking triggers, trained coaches accessible online or by phone, and information about the risks of smoking and the variety of FDA-approved smoking cessation products.

The campaign will begin next month in 35 US markets and will feature all forms of advertising: print, digital, radio, and out-of-home ads, such as billboards.

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