Anti-Tobacco Campaign Targets Hip-Hop Crowd

The FDA has launched its "Fresh Empire" national public education campaign in an effort to prevent and reduce tobacco use among multicultural youth.

The FDA has launched its “Fresh Empire” national public education campaign in an effort to prevent and reduce tobacco use among multicultural youth.

This campaign will target those who identify with the “hip-hop peer crowd,” a group that has traditionally been exposed to more pro-tobacco messages, the FDA stated in a press release.

Youth ages 12 to 17 will be encouraged to lead tobacco-free lives via a variety of marketing strategies, including traditional paid media, multiple digital platforms, and outreach at the local level.

The ads and local events will feature community influencers who underline that tobacco use is not part of the hip-hop lifestyle.

Advertisements aired for the first time during the 2015 BET Hip-Hop Awards on October 13, 2015.

“Unfortunately, the health burdens of tobacco use disproportionately affect minority teens—particularly African-American and Hispanic youth,” the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Minority Health Jonca Bull, MD, said in a press release.

Although multicultural teens identify with more than 1 group, the FDA said it chose to target this population because estimates show that they are more likely to use tobacco than their peers in other demographics.

“The ‘Fresh Empire’ campaign will help reach teens at a key point in their lives when experimenting with smoking can lead to addiction,” the FDA press release stated.

Beginning the week of October 12, 2015, the FDA will target 36 markets across the United States for 2 years. The project has a projected cost of more than $125 million and is funded by tobacco user fees.

“We know from our research that remaining in control is an important pillar of hip-hop culture, but smoking represents a loss of control, so tobacco use is actually in conflict with that priority,” stated Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “The ‘Fresh Empire’ campaign underscores that important message to hip-hop youth, empowering this at-risk peer crowd to live tobacco-free.”

Pharmacy Times previously reported that spending time on social media increased teens’ risk of smoking, drinking, and abuse of prescription and illegal drugs.

The 2011 study found that teens who visited social media websites daily were 5 times more likely to use tobacco, 3 times more likely to drink alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana compared with teens that did not.