The FDA has recently announced an anti smoking education campaign they will be using to target large rural counties in 28 states. The campaign is aiming to encourage adult smokers to quit the habit. The FDA will be placing ads in and round convenience stores/gas station that include a message of support and the health benefits of a nicotine-free life. Officials commented on the campaign stating that smokers “face a multitude of triggers … that typically feature cigarette advertisements.”
The campaign, which is called Every Try Counts, targets adult smokers between the ages of 25-54 who have tried to quit smoking in the last year but were unsuccessful. The educational campaign begins in January 2018 and is a two-year effort in 35 rural U.S. markets. The campaign will include pumptopper signage along front door and shelving signage in convenience stores. The campaign will also be using other marketing efforts, using print, radio, digital and ads such as billboards.
The FDA also partnered with the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute in order to create a website named EveryTryCounts.gov. There are tools and resources for smokers on the site to aid them in trying to quit. The site also has a free text program that can send words of encouragement and tips straight to their phone. There is also a mobile app than can track any smoking triggers, trained coaches that are available via online or phone, the risk factors of smoking, and approved products used for smoking cessation. Other associations have pledges resources for the campaign, including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the Truth Initiative.
“The … campaign encourages smokers to rethink their next pack of cigarettes at the most critical of places, the point of sale,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in press conference on Dec. 11. “Tobacco companies have long used advertisements at convenience stores and gas stations to promote their products, and we plan to use that same space to embolden smokers to quit instead.”
According to the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, the markets were chosen was based on the number of smoker and prevalence. The FDA is working with a media-buying agency in order to determine which stores and media to use with all the ads paid.
Along with targeting Milwaukee, WI and St. Louis, MI, the targeted cities also includes the following:
- Marshall and Mobile counties, Ala.
- Crittenden and Independence counties, Ark.
- Mohave County, Ariz.
- Kings and Stanislaus counties, Calif.
- Citrus and Hillsborough counties, Fla.
- Coweta and Lowndes counties, Ga.
- Black Hawk County, Iowa
- Lake and Tazewell counties, Ill.
- Madison County, Ind.
- Sedgwick County, Kan.
- Kenton County, Ky.
- St. Bernard Parish, La.
- Washington County, Md.
- Wayne County, Miss.
- Oswego and Ulster counties, N.Y.
- Scioto and Trumbull counties, Ohio
- Philadelphia County, Pa.
- Bristol County, R.I. and Bristol County, Mass.
- Cherokee County, S.C.
- Carter and Wilson counties, Tenn.
- Brazoria and Hays counties, Texas
- Lynchburg County, Va.
- Pierce County, Wash.
There hasn’t been a specific list of convenience stores announced as to who will be participating in the campaign. A representative did say, however, that most of the voluntary ad deals have been completed.
Along with the positive messaging of the ads, the placement of them in convenience stores plays a large role in the success of their efforts. Studies done by the FDA have shown that most cigarette purchases take place in convenience stores. The displays in-store and tobacco advertisements can trigger an unplanned purchase of cigarettes which makes quitting even more difficult. The placement of anti-smoking ads in those locations can help discourage a cigarette purchase and encourage quitting.
“Tobacco advertising in retail environments can generate a strong urge to smoke, prompting a relapse among those attempting to quit,” said Zeller. “This campaign offers smokers motivational messages in those environments with the intention to build confidence and instill the belief within each smoker that they are ready to try quitting again.”
The FDA has said that taxpayer dollars will not be funding the advertising campaign but will be using user fees that are collected from the tobacco industry instead. The campaign complements other efforts taking place to educate the public of the health risks of smoking including the “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign implemented by the CDC. The Every Try Counts campaign is also in line with the “tobacco and nicotine regulation strategy” which was announced July of this year.