LAS VEGAS - New anti-smoking ads will air on valley airwaves beginning Tuesday. The Food and Drug Administration is launching a media campaign aimed at teens called "The Real Cost".
The ads are aimed at conveying the health costs of smoking.
One of them relates cigarettes to bullies, because a smoking addiction can control you. Another one shows a teen attempting to buy a pack of cigarettes. When the clerk tells her she doesn't have enough money, the teen offers a piece of her own skin as payment.
Before launching the Real Cost campaign, the FDA conducted several studies to find out what would most influence teens ages 12 to 17 to live a tobacco-free life.
According to Suzette Dacuag with the American Lung Association in Nevada, teens may be receptive to ads that show how smoking affects physical appearance.
"It goes to their vanity if you will. The ads target what can happen to you, to your looks if you do smoke. That has never been done in the past," she said.
Advertising experts agree.
"That's why they talk about bad skin and wrinkled skin and bad teeth, rather than blackened lungs and you're going to die," said R&R Partners Chief Strategic Officer Randy Snow. "A fourteen-year-old doesn't relate to that, but a fourteen-year-old relates to bad skin and bad teeth, and that's the price that they're going to pay."
These ads will be seen in 200 cities across the country, including in Las Vegas. The campaign includes television, radio, newspaper and social media ads. The campaign will last at least 12 months.
Research shows ad campaigns are not the only way to cut smoking. Bans in bars and restaurants also work.
Southern Nevada Health District officials say cigarette companies spend $75 million in advertisements per year in Nevada.
Health officials counter that advertising with its own campaigns and community outreach programs.
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. It's hoped the opening of a new medical clinic will change that.