The Obama Administration has launched a $35.7 million Food and Drug Administration anti-tobacco campaign focused on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender youth.
ABC News has details on the campaign paid for by money collected from the tobacco industry:
The new campaign, “This Free Life,” includes four videos that aim to prevent and reduce smoking among LGBT 18- to 24-year-olds, who are about twice as likely to use tobacco as other people their age, according to Kathy Crosby, director of the Office of Health Communication and Education in the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
“This is the biggest LGBT health initiative that’s ever existed,” said Doctor Scout, director of LGBT HealthLink, who was consulted by the FDA in making the ads. A lot of tobacco control has not focused on LGBT people, “despite our huge smoking rate,” he said.
“A campaign like this is long overdue,” Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products told USA Today. “LGBT young adults have been through a lot in the coming out process. It’s what makes them vulnerable to unhealthy behaviors.”
Certainly the stated goal appears to be a noble one (isn’t that always the case with the best-intentioned, expensive government program?) as statistics show LGBT youth are highly susceptible to tobacco addiction. However, after watching the ad campaign it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that there may be an agenda that goes beyond a benign warning about the dangers of tobacco.
It’s clear the message in these spots go well beyond communicating a health message, a good portion of the ads glorify and celebrate the LGBT community.
Indeed, the first 30 seconds of the 60 second “Our Story” ad focuses on the personal, triumphant stories of young people who have come out and celebrated their LGBT identity before then shifting to an admonition about cigarettes. It’s hard not to see this as a $36 million government endorsement and normalization of a controversial subject rather than a public health initiative.