Increased Dose Of Truth(R) Youth-Smoking Prevention Campaign Coming To A Town Near You
Today the American
Legacy Foundation(R) announced that it will deliver its successful truth(R)
youth smoking prevention message to more youth across the country over the
next three years. Through a $3.6 million matching grant from the U.S.
"Every day, approximately 4,000 young people try smoking for the first
time," said Matt McKenna, MD, MPH, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking
and Health. "Counter-marketing campaigns like truth(R) are effective in
reducing tobacco use and an essential component of evidence-based tobacco
prevention and control programs."
Reaching all youth is especially important for Legacy, given that more
than 80 percent of smokers start before they turn 18 years old. And in late
December, the University of Michigan reported in its annual health
findings, Monitoring the Future, that the historic decline in daily smoking
among younger U.S. teens has ended. This alarming public health news
underscores the need for this increased dose of truth(R).
"We must overcome the toll tobacco is taking on American youth,"
foundation President and CEO Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., said. "While we'll
never be able to match Big Tobacco's current spending on marketing, we know
that the truth(R) campaign is effective counter-marketing to the $41
million that the tobacco industry spends -- every single day in the United
States -- to encourage Americans to smoke its addictive products."
truth(R) advertising will increase in 18 states, with outreach focusing
on surrounding smaller communities that have less exposure to truth(R)
because of low cable television penetration. The states -- all part of the
1998 Master Settlement Agreement between attorneys general and the tobacco
industry -- also showed high numbers of teens and high youth smoking
prevalence rates above the national average.
truth(R) remains the only national tobacco-prevention campaign not
directed by the tobacco industry. Research published in the March 2005
edition of the American Journal of Public Health credited the campaign with
22 percent of the decline in youth smoking in the campaign's first two
years (2000-2002). New research shows industry-sponsored anti-smoking
campaigns actually can motivate youth to start smoking, not stop.
Research has shown that anti-smoking ads that convey thought-provoking,
believable messages and evoke strong reactions, elicit higher recall and
increased perception of effectiveness among teens.(1,2,3,4) To reach the
target demographic of sensation-seeking teens who are most at risk of
smoking, ads must be not only memorable, but also be hard-hitting. truth(R)
borrows heavily from actual tobacco industry documents to share the truth
at its most basic level, and to educate youth about marketing tactics the
industry uses to attract new customers.
One truth(R) ad that will air as a result of this grant is called
Opens with a man dressed as a cowboy riding a horse down a busy city
street to meet his sidekick, who strums his guitar to get people's
attention. The Singing Cowboy removes a bandanna around his neck to
reveal a hole from a laryngectomy. He begins singing a song, which starts
with the lines "You don't always die from tobacco" with the help of an
electro larynx (a hand-held electronic voice box). At the conclusion of
the song, we see a card with the words: Over 8.5 million Americans live
with tobacco-related illnesses.
CDC funds for grant year 2007 are being matched 2.3 to 1 by the
American Legacy Foundation. The federal share of the money accounts for 30
percent, or $1.2 million, of the total funds being used for the youth
tobacco prevention project. The remaining 70 percent will be the matching,
non-federal share provided by the foundation, for approximately $2.8
The American Legacy Foundation(R) is dedicated to building a world
where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in
Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health
effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations
disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants,
technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and
counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's
programs include truth(R), a national youth smoking prevention campaign
that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth
smoking; EX(SM), an innovative public health program designed to speak to
smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting;
research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to
reducing tobacco use; and a nationally-renowned program of outreach to
priority populations. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a
result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached
between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the
tobacco industry. Visit