The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new strategic action plan to End the Tobacco Epidemic on Nov. 10. According to HHS, one part of the new campaign includes graphic warnings of the possible physical harm that can result from smoking: “Specifically, the proposed rule details a requirement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that nine new larger and more noticeable textual warning statements and color graphic images depicting the negative health consequences of smoking appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.”
At the same time that HHS is prioritizing a strong prevention approach to smoking (i.e., Don’t begin smoking and if you presently smoke, quit), the same public health risk avoidance paradigm is strangely absent from sexual health strategies for youth. In fact, among the many topics addressed by HHS, sexual health is the single strategy where skills fail to prioritize the best health outcomes.
Sexual activity with multiple partners costs the taxpayers, too. Ask Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov to give the same emphasis on risk avoidance to sexual activity as she does for other health strategies.