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Public Health Education Campaigns


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Rooted in science, FDA’s tobacco public education campaigns are critical to our public health mission. FDA focuses on audiences with a higher risk of using tobacco products and uses media campaigns with dynamic advertising to convince youth to not use tobacco. To maximize the impact on public health, FDA has comprehensive education efforts for youth prevention and adult cessation that complement the agency’s tobacco regulatory activities.

Today, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product and use among youth remains high. FDA is focusing its prevention efforts to reduce youth use of e-cigarettes through “The Real Cost” and “Next Legends” campaigns. FDA also disseminates educational resources for people who use tobacco products about the benefits of quitting.

Campaign Program Evolution

The Real Cost Campaign Timeline

Current Public Education Campaigns


The Real Cost

FDA’s award-winning public education campaign, “The Real Cost,” is recognizing its 10th anniversary and continues to prevent youth from tobacco initiation and use. In 2018, the campaign began prioritizing e-cigarette prevention messaging to combat increasing use of e-cigarettes among youth. “The Real Cost” campaign also educates youth on the health consequences of smoking cigarettes.


Next Legends

"Next Legends" is a youth e-cigarette prevention campaign that aims to educate American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, ages 12 to 17, about the harms of vaping. Research has shown AI/AN youth demonstrate high experimentation and current use of e-cigarettes.

Digital Resources for Campaign Implementation 

Materials and resources from FDA on lessons in campaign implementation, measurement, and recommendations on digital best practices are available, including the resources below: 

If you have questions about our campaigns, please contact us: tobaccocampaigns@fda.hhs.gov

How CTP Includes Public Input on its Education Campaigns

As part of a science-based process, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) employs various methods to obtain information to inform the development of effective tobacco public education resources and activities.

Past Public Education Campaigns 

From 2015 through 2020, FDA implemented several media campaigns to reach discrete audiences and address specific tobacco product usage. These campaigns have ended, and lessons learned from each campaign continue to be incorporated in current campaigns and public education efforts. 

  • Fresh Empire
    Prevented cigarette use among African American, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander youth ages 12-17 who identify with hip-hop culture. 
  • This Free Life
    Prevented cigarette use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQI+) young adults ages 18-24. 
  • Every Try Counts
    Encouraged adult cigarette smokers to quit through messages of support that underscore the health benefits of quitting. 
  • The Real Cost Smokeless Tobacco
    Prevented smokeless tobacco use among rural male youth ages 12-17.

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