Sensis launching work on FDA tobacco awareness project.

Sensis received a task order from the FDA Center for Tobacco Products to develop and execute a public education campaign to curb tobacco use among 12- to 15-year-olds in rural areas. This is the agency’s first project under a contract awarded by the FDA in July.

Over the next two years, Sensis will develop an integrated campaign including television, radio, digital, outdoor and print advertising. The tobacco prevention campaign calls for multiple TV ads, billboards, radio spots and print ads, targeting youth and their influencers. Heavy emphasis will be placed on digital media platforms, and particularly social media, to reach and engage this youth audience. All will be targeted at reducing the use of tobacco products by rural youth, 12 to 15 years old.

“This is a big win for our agency,” President José Villa said. “I would not be exaggerating to call this contract a game changer. It required work from the entire agency to win this amazing contract addressing a huge public health issue.”

Rural youth are more likely to be surrounded by role models who use tobacco and are less likely to hear anti-tobacco messages in the media. According to a report on rural tobacco use by the American Lung Association, 10.5 percent of rural 12- to 17-year-olds smoke compared to 8.6 percent of urban youth. The difference is greater with smokeless tobacco as 4.7 percent of rural youth 12 to 17 use smokeless products compared to 1.9 percent of urban youth. The earlier they start, the harder it becomes to break that habit.

“We have more than a decade’s experience reaching targeted audiences in a crowded, splintered and ever-evolving media environment,” Villa said. “We are eager to launch this campaign.”

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