New truth® Ad: Don’t Get Played by Flavored Tobacco Products

August 17, 2015

A year ago, a reinvigorated truth® campaign challenged young people to “finish it” and help end the tobacco epidemic for good.

Now a new truth ad has another important message: The battle isn’t just about cigarettes. With the warning “Don’t get played while they get paid,” the ad informs young people that other tobacco products, such as hookah and little cigars, are also addictive and deadly, even if they are often disguised with candy flavors. The ad aired Sunday night during the Teen Choice Awards.

The ad couldn’t be more timely given the popularity of these sweet-flavored tobacco products among young people. While a 2009 federal law banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, little cigars and hookah (and electronic cigarettes as well) are available in a wide variety of youth-friendly flavors.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups have urged the Food and Drug Administration and the White House to finalize long-overdue rules asserting jurisdiction over these currently unregulated products and to crack down on marketing and flavors that appeal to kids. Administration officials said the rules would be issued this summer, but as summer winds down, we’re still awaiting action to protect our kids.

These unregulated products pose a real threat to kids. A recent government survey found hookah use roughly doubled among middle and high school students from 2013 to 2014, with current use among high school students rising from 5.2 percent 9.4 percent. The survey also found high school boys smoke cigars at about the same rate as cigarettes (10.8 percent for cigars and 10.6 percent for cigarettes).

Legacy’s truth campaign is the boldest and most successful media campaign ever conducted to prevent youth tobacco use in the United States.