Smoking Campaign Makes Teens Think Twice


This ad campaign involves a couple smoking ads that will make you cringe. They not only make you realize how expensive smoking can be but the awful consequences that come along with the habit. The commercials give an uneasy feeling leaving viewers thinking twice about what they are about to buy.   “The Food and Drug Administration is hoping a little fear can go a long way in warning teens of the cost of smoking.”

The first commercial is of an African-American male teen that walks up to a register to buy cigarettes but is told he does not have enough. He then turns around with a pliers and pulls out a tooth and gives it to the cashier. This is proving that smoking not only costs people money but also their health. During this commercial I had to turn away because it was too painful to watch. I have never had to turn away from a commercial because I was shriveling with anxiety of the thought of having to pull my tooth out.

Another commercial is of the same nature and displays how smoking not only cost money but the individuals health. This commercial is of a young girl asking to buy cigarettes and the cashier replies “it’s not enough”. The young girl starts slowly peeling off her skin and hands it over to buy the cigarettes.

The name of this ad campaign is “The Real Cost” and starts on February 11 in 200 markets. It is predicted to target 10 million teens between he ages of 12 and 17. Some of the channels the campaign will run through include: MTV, radio, online, out of home and print.  FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. said, “We know that early intervention is critical, with almost nine out of every 10 regular adult smokers picking up their first cigarette by age 18”. Future ad campaigns on top of this one will target other audiences that include rural youth, multicultural youth and LGBT youth.

I think this ad campaign is great because it is targeting the younger audience, which is where the habit is proven to start in majority of cases.  I am excited to see how the target audience reacts to this campaign. Other smoking ads that incorporate fear have proven successful, so I am confident this campaign will be too because it is being dramatic and fearful at the same time.



Bachman, K. (2014, February 4). FDA Targets Teens in Anti-Smoking Campaign | Adweek. Retrieved February 3, 2014, from

The Real Cost Commercial: “Your Teeth” [Video file]. (2014, February 4). Retrieved from

The Real Cost Commercial: “Your Skin” – Menthol Version [Video file]. (2014, February 4). Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “Smoking Campaign Makes Teens Think Twice

  1. I think these ads are great. Our generation really responds to the shock factor and these certainly have it. I was asked this summer by my uncle why kids these days start smoking, and risk becoming addicted, when they know the facts about it. Possibly we do it to rebel against these facts. Either way hopefully these ads along with countries increasing the price of tobacco will help stop or at least slow down smoking among teens.


  2. I think fear is a very useful tactic in advertising to create a lasting impression and to induce word-of-mouth promotion. I know that when I see a shocking message, I turn to social media and post it to see how my friends react. For example, I’ve recently come across this shocking advertisement several times via Facebook which aims to keep kids in school:


  3. Fear is definitely the most effective way to draw someone to something… make them think they need it or need to stop it (smoking). personally i have many friends who smoke… i wish that the ads were even more effective. many of them contain stories which connect viewers powerfully, using emotion.


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