By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
AP Tobacco Writer
RICHMOND, VA (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration is planning to spend $600 million over five years to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use.
Lawrence Deyton, head of the Center for Tobacco Products, told The Associated Press that the multimedia educational campaigns are aimed at reducing the death and disease caused by tobacco. The first campaign will target youth, minorities and other groups include the gay community.
The FDA says about 3,450 kids in the US try their first cigarette every day and 850 become daily smokers.
The campaigns are in partnership with other public health efforts including new graphic warning labels set to appear on cigarette packs late next year.
Tobacco companies will foot the bill through fees charged by the FDA under a 2009 law.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)