FDA aims new anti-smoking ad at teens


by Michelle Arnold


Posted on February 4, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 4 at 7:12 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Food and Drug Administration is introducing a new campaign aiming to encourage teens to stop smoking before it becomes an addiction.
They're uncomfortable to watch. This anti-smoking commercial shows a young woman ripping off her skin to pay for a pack of smokes. Another ad features a man yanking out his teeth for payment.
It's a $115 million dollar campaign meant to make you squirm and it's aimed at teens ages 12 to 17. FDA research indicates it's not the statistics that discourage young people from smoking, but it's seeing what addiction can do.
"We found that these messages about their appearance, about losing control actually resonated the most with kids," said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg. 
The FDA says more than 3,200 teens try their first cigarette every day.
“I started smoking when I was 15," said Angela Slagle.
"Somehow it's becoming cool again among teenagers and I think it's going to start up a whole new generation of smokers," said Norton Heart Care Director of Thoracic Surgery Dr. Mikos.
In Kentucky, the outlook is even more grim than compared to the rest of the country.
"We have the number one smoking rates in the nation," said Dr. Mikos.
In the Commonwealth, the addiction hinges on history and culture as Kentucky is traditionally a tobacco growing state, but these repeated habits are killers.
"I've had patients tell me 'doc I've been addicted to heroin, cocaine, whatever. I've managed to kick all of those habits but I can’t stop smoking,'“said Dr. Mikos.
Dr. Mikos thinks change can happen with key efforts, like these ads and even some smokers agree.
"To target the young crowd about smoking is a good thing because if I hadn't had my first puff of a cigarette I probably wouldn’t be smoking right now," said Slagle.