FDA Launches Campaign Against Teenage Smokeless Tobacco Use
Government health officials will team up with minor league baseball as part of a new $36 million campaign to discourage rural teenagers from using chewing tobacco.
Baseball stadiums will feature the campaign’s central message this summer – “smokeless doesn’t mean harmless” – via advertising and promotions with players. Ads will also run on local television, radio and online in 35 markets across the U.S., including cities in Michigan, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The Food and Drug Administration says its latest effort targets white, rural males who are more likely to use dip, chew and other smokeless tobacco products. Roughly 32 percent of rural males ages 12 to 17, or roughly 629,000 Americans, are at-risk for using chewing tobacco, according to the agency.
FDA’s Mitch Zeller, director of the agency’s tobacco program, said smokeless tobacco is culturally ingrained in many rural communities as a “right of passage”.
“Often male teenagers in rural communities are accustomed to seeing smokeless tobacco use among role models, such as their fathers and grandfathers, older brothers and community leaders,” he told reporters.