FDA Launches Ad Campaign Utilizing Hip-Hop to Prevent Teen Smoking

FDA Launches Ad Campaign Utilizing Hip-Hop to Prevent Teen Smoking
October 13, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a proactive approach in its effort to curb juvenile tobacco use.

Last week, the agency announced the launch of "Fresh Empire", a national public education campaign to prevent and reduce tobacco use among multicultural youth who identify with the hip-hop peer crowd. While multicultural teens identify with more than one group, the FDA is focusing on those in the hip-hop peer crowd because research estimates that they are more likely to use tobacco than other youth.

"Unfortunately, the health burdens of tobacco use disproportionately affect minority teens – particularly African American and Hispanic youth," Jonca Bull, FDA Assistant Commissioner for Minority Health, said in a written statement. "The 'Fresh Empire' campaign will help reach teens at a key point in their lives when experimenting with smoking can lead to addiction."

The campaign will target youth ages 12-17. It works to associate living tobacco free with a hip-hop lifestyle through a variety of interactive marketing strategies, including the use of traditional paid media, engagement through multiple digital platforms, and outreach at the local level. The ads, and particularly the local events, feature community influencers who reinforce that tobacco use is not a part of the hip-hop lifestyle.

Tobacco use is almost always initiated during adolescence ‒ close to 90 percent of established adult smokers smoked their first cigarette by age 18 ‒ making early intervention critical. In fact, youth initiation numbers show that each day in the United States more than 2,600 youth under the age of 18 smoked their first cigarette, and nearly 600 became regular smokers. Approximately 4.4 million multicultural youth are open to smoking or are already experimenting with cigarettes.

"Fresh Empire" will launch the week of October 12 in approximately 36 markets throughout the United States for at least 24 months. The $128 million campaign is funded by tobacco user fees.