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FDA & FCB Launch First National Youth Vaping Education Campaign

Press Release - New York, 18 September 2018

Latest installment of “The Real Cost” cautions against the use of e-cigarettes 

FCB New York, in partnership with FDA, today announced that is has launched the newest evolution of “The Real Cost” youth tobacco prevention campaign. This new campaign, which will focus on the dangers of vaping, isspecifically designed to reach and educate the 10.7 million teens who have used e-cigarettes or are thinking about trying them.

“Seemingly out of the blue, vaping among teens has become an epidemic,” said Suzanne Santiago, FCB New York EVP, group management director. “One of the reasons is that the majority of teens have a ‘consequence-free’ mentality toward vaping, and our mission, alongside FDA, is to shatter this perception, by educating them about the harmful and addictive chemicals they may be inhaling.” 

“The Real Cost,” first developed by FCB New York in 2014, has successfully prevented nearly 350,000 youth from smoking cigarettes, and for each teen prevented from becoming a smoker, there was $181,000 in cost savings – which means the campaign has averted over $31 billion in future medical costs, to date. Having been incredibly effective at teaching teens the “real cost” of smoking, FCB New York and FDA are now taking on their latest challenge: to teach teens the “real cost” of vaping. 

In the first national youth vaping education campaign, FCB New York targets teens ages 12-17 who have used e-cigarettes or are open to trying them, and who perceive no significant harm from vaping regularly. The campaign aims to challenge these teens’ “cost-free” mentality with messages about the hazards associated with using e-cigarettes, including nicotine addiction and potential exposure to harmful chemicals.

Despite these substantial health risks, about 80 percent of youth still claim they do not anticipate profound risk of harm from regular use of e-cigarettes. This insight underscored the pressing need for FCB New York and FDA to focus on vaping in their newest initiative for youth tobacco prevention, and to create a targeted public education effort about the dangers of using these products in particular.

FCB’s new campaign – appropriately entitled “Epidemic” – employs the unsettling visual metaphor of an organism, in order to depict the negative consequences to the lungs, bloodstream and brain posed by vaping. “Epidemic,” as a whole, ultimately seeks to awaken its teen audience to the damaging effects of e-cigarettes, while showing how vaping has become a serious – and spreading – social epidemic.

“It’s been thrilling to be a part of this bold and aggressive mobilization by FDA to counter this epidemic by educating teens on the potential consequences of vaping,” added Gary Resch, FCB New York EVP, executive creative director. “We knew it would require work that was audacious and provocative, and we are excited about what we’ve delivered.”

FCB worked with acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky to film “Epidemic.” The campaign also consists of online radio, banner ads, GIFs, custom units and online takeovers, all driving to a 360-degree digital experience. 



Kathy Crosby – Director, Office of Health Communication and Education

April Brubach – Deputy Director, Office of Health Communication and Education

Gem Benoza – Director, Division of Public Health & Education

Michael Murray – Supervisory Health Communications Specialist

Emily D’Iorio – Health Communications Specialist 

FCB New York:

Ari Halper – Chief Creative Officer

Gary Resch – EVP, Executive Creative Director

James Meiser – Senior Art Director

Cecile Robertshaw – Senior Copywriter

Stacy Flaum – Executive Producer

Suzanne Santiago – EVP, Group Management Director

Dimas Adiwiyoto – VP, Account Director

Mallika Rao – Account Supervisor

Ally Morrow – Account Executive

Katie O’Hara – Assistant Account Executive

Shantal Gonzalez – Project Manager

Jared Shell – Account Director

Earl Adams – Account Director


Darren Aronofsky – Director 

Matthew Libatique – Director of Photography

Sandy Haddad – Executive Producer

Ted Robbins – Executive Producer, Line Producer

Scott Franklin – Executive Producer 

Lost Planet:

Ben Rodriguez – Editor

Krystn Wagenberg – Executive Producer

Casey Cayko – Producer

Alene Christina – Editor Assistant

Fergus McCall – Colorist 

The Mill:

Heino Henning – Senior Producer

Sophie Mitchell – Associate Producer

Rachel Trillo – Executive Producer



About FCB 

FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Based on a deeply developed understanding of diversified local markets and global cultures, FCB focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas for clients that reflect a deep understanding of the brand’s past, a respect for the present and an anticipation of the future potential. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Founded in 1873, FCB New York has helped build some of the world’s most iconic brands, like Amtrak, LG Electronics, FDA’s “The Real Cost” and NIVEA. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter (@FCBNewYork), Instagram (@FCBNewYork), Facebook (@FCBNewYork) and LinkedIn (@FCBNewYork).