Though technically not regulatory action, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has dedicated a lot of resources toward various media campaigns supporting the agency’s regulatory efforts in tobacco. Historically these initiatives—such as “The Real Cost” campaign—have been consumer-facing (usually via TV and print ads) and focused on education.
"We have a responsibility … to reduce the death and disease toll from tobacco use,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), told The Washington Post before launching The Real Cost in 2014. “That includes educating kids about the harms of tobacco use in an effective way, in a way that will reach them."
The trend turned in 2017, when the agency announced two new campaigns that were distinctly retail-oriented.
“This is Our Watch” is a retailer-facing campaign that the FDA said “helps tobacco retailers better understand FDA tobacco regulations [and] the importance of compliance.” It launched in November 2017.
The “Every Try Counts” campaign, which launched in January 2018, is a consumer-facing smoking-cessation initiative in which ads will be displayed at convenience stores and other tobacco outlets.
Not surprisingly, retailers have had various reactions to these initiatives, for which participation is voluntary. Here’s a look at the two campaigns and the potential implications for convenience retailers.
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