FDA launches hip-hop anti-smoking campaign

"Fresh Empire" program targeting young people of color

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Food and Drug Administration is rolling out a new anti-smoking campaign using hip hop to target young people of color.

In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths. The FDA says it will spend $128 million on the new “Fresh Empire” campaign to prevent and curb smoking among minority teens.

According to the FDA, most smokers start doing so between the ages of 12 and 17, and their research shows young people who identify with hip hop are more likely to use tobacco products. Health officials hope hip hop will grab the attention of a group that is often hard to reach, and at greater risk for serious smoking-related illnesses.

Alvilda Anaya-Alegria of Springfield told 22News that she believes hip hop is a great way to connect with the youth.

“Hip hop has always been the voice of the black and Latino community,” Anaya-Alegria said.

Officials plan to use musicians and DJs to influence young people to avoid smoking. Tobacco companies will be covering most of the cost of the campaigns, which will roll out in 36 markets through the United States. The campaign will last for at least two years.

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