America Online and the American Legacy Foundation Bring Anti-Smoking Message to 'Tweens'
DULLES, Virg. & WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 22, 2002--America Online, Inc. and the American Legacy FoundationÂ® today announced an online campaign designed to raise awareness with 'tweens' about the health risks associated with the use of tobacco.
America Online, Inc. and the American Legacy Foundation (americanlegacy.org) have joined hands with BigChange Networks, Inc. (bigchange.com) and RoperASW (roperasw.com) to create a web-based interactive program that will reach tweens through America Online's popular online destinations including the Kids Only, Parenting and Teens channels on AOL, as well as Kids WB.com, SIKids.com and TeenPeople.com.
The American Legacy Foundation is sponsoring this interactive website for 'tweens' (children 8-13 years of age) in an effort to reduce youth smoking. In Spring 2000, the American Legacy Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conducted the 2000 National Youth Tobacco Survey. It was administered to over 35,000 students in grades 6 through 12 in 324 schools across the country. Results from this survey indicate that 36% of children in middle school had tried cigarettes at least once and 11% had smoked a cigarette in the 30 days preceding the survey. It is evident that children are experimenting with cigarettes at an early age. As a result, it is important to start educating them about the dangers of cigarette use early.
The program will require participants to complete five separate sessions online. During each session, tweens will be educated on general tobacco and health issues and earn points towards an incentive prize that will be awarded upon completion of the program. All sessions will mix education with interactive exercises, with some sessions containing suggestions for activities. The first and last session will include pre- and post questionnaires, developed by the American Legacy Foundation and RoperASW, that will measure attitudes and perceptions about tobacco before and after completing the program. Participation in the program is voluntary and must be authorized by a parent or guardian.
Dr. Cheryl Healton, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation said, "We're proud to help launch this important web-based initiative. We know that kids of all ages communicate online so this program provides us with an opportunity to reach kids where they gather with facts about the tobacco industry and about tobacco products. Once kids have the facts about the tobacco industry, they can make more informed decisions about tobacco use."
Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of America Online, Inc. said, "We're proud to use the power of the interactive medium to help Legacy teach kids about the dangers of youth smoking. This is an exciting campaign that will educate children about the dangers of smoking, while also inviting their participation by employing a medium that they use and rely on for information and entertainment."
Nina Benton, CEO of BigChange Networks, Inc. said, "We are delighted to be working with two wonderful organizations, The American Legacy Foundation and America Online. We are very pleased to be a part of Legacy's mission to teach children about the tobacco industry, through our fun and educational website. There is no more effective way than AOL, the medium of choice with this young audience, to deliver these important messages."
About the American Legacy Foundation
The American Legacy Foundation is a national, independent, public health foundation created by the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. The foundation collaborates with organizations interested in decreasing tobacco consumption among all ages and populations nationwide and has established goals to reduce youth tobacco use; decrease exposure to secondhand smoke; increase successful quit rates; and reduce disparities in access to prevention and cessation services.
About America Online Inc.
America Online, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.
About BigChange Networks, Inc.
BigChange Networks, Inc., creators of BigChange.com, is a Washington, D.C. based company that designs innovative media products to enrich, educate, empower and entertain Generation Y kids (aged 6-13 years) and their families. BigChange Networks is COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant.