FDA Announces $600 Million Tobacco Education Program

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced plans to expand their tobacco education plan with $600 million in spending over the next five years.

The announcement comes on the heals of a report that shows 443,000 deaths a year occurring each year in the United States. The FDA plans to launch their print, TV and internet campaigns by first targeting young potential voters followed by minorities and then gay, military and disabled groups.

The agency also plans to use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to spread their message in the most viral way possible.

The FDA is beginning their campaign focus on a younger audience because they are the most susceptible to nicotine addiction with 3,450 kids in the U.S. trying their first cigarette each day and 850 becoming regular daily smokers.

Speaking of his agencies advertising spending Dr. Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, told The Associated Press:

“One of the big lessons that I’ve learned is that we might have great public health programs, but they will fail if we do not adequately educate the public about them,” adding that it wouldn’t be helpful “if we just sat back and put out regulations and didn’t say anything about them.”

Paying for the anti-tobacco campaigns will be the very company’s they target, a 2009 law gave the FDA authority over the tobacco industry and their ad spends to prevent smoking with fees being collected quarterly and based solely on the market share of each tobacco company.

Do you think the FDA is doing enough to fight back against tobacco addiction?