(Washington D.C., Tuesday, April 19, 2016) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today it is expanding its award-winning â€śThe Real Costâ€ť campaign to educate rural, male teenagers about the negative health consequences associated with smokeless tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco includes different types of products, such as dip, chew, snus and types of tobacco that dissolve when placed in the mouth.
Each day in the U.S., nearly 1,000 males under the age of 18 use smokeless tobacco for the first time â€“ almost as many male teenagers who smoke their first cigarette â€“ making early intervention critical and highlighting a need for targeted youth smokeless tobacco prevention.
Mitch Zeller, J.D., Director of the FDAâ€™s Center for Tobacco Products, discusses the importance of this new campaign.
BETWEEN TWO THOUSAND EIGHT AND TWO THOUSAND TEN, SMOKELESS USE RATES INCREASED BY THIRTY-ONE PERCENT AMONG HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS. SINCE TWO THOUSAND TEN, RATES HAVE REMAINED STEADY BUT THEYâ€™RE HIGHER THAN LEVELS SEEN DURING MOST OF THE TWO THOUSANDS. TEENAGE MALES LIVING IN RURAL COMMUNITIES ARE PARTICULARLY AT RISK: IN THE U.S., SMOKELESS TOBACCO USE IS MORE THAN TWICE AS LIKELY IN RURAL AREAS COMPARED TO METROPOLITAN AREAS.
EACH AND EVERY DAY IN THE UNITED STATES, NEARLY ONE THOUSAND MALES UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN USE SMOKELESS TOBACCO FOR THE FIRST TIME. THESE BOYS ARE WALKING AROUND THINKING THAT SMOKELESS TOBACCO IS SAFER THAN CIGARETTES, AND THAT IT IS SAFE TO USE BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY SEE GOING ON IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. THEY SEE THEIR DADS, THEIR GRANDFATHERS, COMMUNITY LEADERS USING SMOKELESS TOBACCO, USING THE DIP OR THE CHEW THROUGHOUT THEIR LIFETIME, AND THEY THINK ITâ€™S OKAY.
For more information, visit www.fda.gov.