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  1. The Real Cost Campaign

The Real Cost E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign

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Youth e-cigarette use remains an ongoing public health concern. In 2022, more than 2.5 million U.S. middle and high school students currently used e-cigarettes1

Our Goal: Educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use. The campaign addresses the “cost-free” mentality in middle and high schoolers with messages about the health consequences and risk of addiction from using e-cigarettes

Campaign Research

How Research Guides Our Campaign  

FDA conducts research with teens on an ongoing basis, including focus groups and surveys across the country. Our research, which is diverse in geography, race and ethnicity, gender, age, provides key insights about potential campaign ads and messages. 

Our Approach

“The Real Cost” e-cigarette prevention campaign uses a variety of marketing tactics and creative advertising to reach its audience. Advertising and prevention materials are delivered across teen-relevant communication channels, including: 

  • Television ads
  • Online video ads
  • Social media 
  • Media partnerships with youth-focused content, such as Marvel Comics and Rick and Morty
  • “The Real Cost” campaign’s youth-focused website
  • Posters for high schools nationwide 

Campaign Resources

Quitting Resources for Youth

FDA partners with the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Smokefree.gov initiative to provide youth with resources for quitting e-cigarettes. Resources and information on Teen.smokefree.gov/therealcost are designed specifically for youth audiences by cessation experts. “The Real Cost” campaign connects youth to these resources on social media and various digital platforms (Spotify, Pandora, Wattpad, etc.). Some of the quit tools and resources include: 

Vaping Prevention and Education Resource Center 

Youth on bleachers vaping

The FDA’s Vaping Prevention and Education Resource Center is an online hub with free science-based, standards-mapped lesson plans and materials teachers can use to help students understand the dangers associated with vaping and nicotine addiction. The resource center features numerous age-appropriate, cross-curricular resources for teachers to promote learning and begin having open conversations with youth about vaping.

In addition to content designed for teachers, there are also materials for parents and teens. All content on the resource center is free, easy to navigate, and optimized for each audience.

Visit the Vaping Resource Center

Free Tobacco and Vaping Prevention and Cessation Materials at FDA's Tobacco Education Resource Library

Free Materials - Learn how to request materials from the FDA.

FDA has educational materials and resources for local organizations on youth tobacco prevention and adult cessation efforts: 

Campaign Ads


Awards and Recognition

  • Effie Awards
    • 2022: Bronze Effie in the Disease Awareness and Education category
    • 2021: Bronze Effie in the Disease Awareness and Education category
  • ARF David Ogilvy Awards 
    • 2021: Gold award for “The Facts about Vaping are Scary Enough” campaign ad

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