The Real Cost: How Smoking Will Change The Way You Look - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Araksya Karapetyan

The Real Cost: How Smoking Will Change The Way You Look

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Have you heard or seen bites and pieces of the Food and Drug Administration's first-ever anti-smoking campaign? If you haven't yet, you will soon... and I assure you it will get your attention.

They're a little on the graphic side but maybe that's what its going to take to get teenagers to think twice before they light up. Let's face it, when you're young you don't often think in the long-term. Most teens think short-term. They live in the moment, rarely if ever, taking into account how their actions today will affect their lives tomorrow. I don't think its fair to say "all" teens are this way, but I think its realistic and fair to say "most" are.

Not to mention the fact that these days while most teens learn and understand that there are serious health risks associated with tobacco, those risks may be hard for them to relate to at this point. But what they can relate to is how they look physically. Let's face it, its normal for teens to care about how they look right now. And that's what these ads are trying to do.

The one I watched really startled me this morning- it shows a teenager buying a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store, the cashier saying he needs to pay up- with his teeth! So the guy literally pulls his tooth with a set of pliers to pay for the pack. The narrator then mentions how smoking can cause gum disease and you may lose your teeth. I actually turned away from the screen when I saw the guy struggling to pull his tooth out. I thought... wow that was a little intense!

But you know what... it certainly made a point. As over the top and dramatic as it was, it did send a message.

The $115 million ad campaign, called the " The Real Cost"  is aimed at teenagers ages 12 to 17 who are at the greatest risk of becoming addicted to cigarettes for various reasons. The ads will target the roughly 10 million American teens who are open to smoking or are already experimenting with cigarettes. The FDA is hoping the ads will have the greatest impact on at-risk youth- kids who see smoking as a temporary coping mechanism to help them deal with poverty, violence or family troubles.

You will soon come across these ads on the radio, TV,  magazines that appeal to teenagers, billboards and online.

They will start appearing February 11 in 200 markets and run for at least a year.

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