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Federal officials are using a variety of strategies to try to lower smoking rates, including using social media, banning fruit-flavored cigarettes, and encouraging smoking bans in public housing. Experts are sharing ideas on the best ways to prevent smoking at the National Conference on Tobacco Or Health this week in Kansas City.

The initiatives include the National Cancer Institute’s use of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, websites and mobile apps to help people stop smoking, according to The Kansas City Star. FDA officials described how they have banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, and have inspected more than 80,000 retailers for illegal advertising and sales. The Department of Housing and Urban Development explained its campaign to urge local housing authorities to make their housing smoke free.

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health spoke about their study, which will include at least 60,000 people who smoke, or are at risk of starting. The aim is to learn why people start smoking, and to identify how they quit.

Participants also heard about the success of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) graphic ad campaign featuring the health consequences of smoking. The ads ran for three months earlier this year. The campaign’s goal was to convince 500,000 people to try quitting smoking, and 50,000 to quit long-term. The CDC says it plans more ads for 2013.


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