1. What is the Foundation’s mission and why is it important?
The American Legacy Foundation concentrates on tobacco prevention and cessation because smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in America. Every year in the U.S., more people die from smoking than from car accidents, using illegal drugs, murder, and AIDS combined. Tobacco is the only legal product that, when used properly, kills. But in spite of that fact, cigarettes – considered neither food nor drug by our government – remain largely unregulated. Tobacco companies are not required by law to list the ingredients they add to cigarettes – or to let the public know that if you add up what each manufacturer does, there are 599 additives in all. They are not required to say why they add things like ammonia to cigarettes. They are not required to tell us that “light” cigarettes are as dangerous – or more deadly - as regular ones.
2. Can you help me lobby for legislation?
Under the terms of the MSA, the American Legacy Foundation is restricted from advocacy or lobbying. However, the Foundation may educate the public on the addictive nature of nicotine and the dangers of smoking. If you would like to learn more about the MSA, the document is available at the National Association of Attorneys General Web Site at www.naag.org.
3. How is the American Legacy Foundation funded?
The American Legacy Foundation is an independent public health charitable organization created in 1999 as a result of the MSA.
Forty-six states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories sued the major tobacco companies to recover the billions of dollars they had spent caring for sick smokers. The tobacco companies settled out of court, signing an agreement to pay the states over $200 billion over 25 years. The states directed that a small portion of their recovery be used to fund the American Legacy Foundation.
4. How do you get the message out to youth?
For decades, the tobacco industry has targeted youth in an effort to get young people to start smoking when they are most vulnerable to tobacco addiction. That’s why the Foundation devotes so much time and effort to reaching young people to keep them from ever taking up smoking. The Foundation has worked directly with youth across the country to build a network of youth activists that influence and educate peers not to smoke.
Launched in February 2000, truth® is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign and the only national campaign not directed by the tobacco industry. The campaign exposes the tactics of the tobacco industry, the truth about addiction, and the health effects and social consequences of smoking - allowing teens to make informed choices about tobacco use by giving them the facts about the industry and its products. It is designed to engage teens by exposing Big Tobacco’s marketing and manufacturing practices, as well as highlighting the toll of tobacco in relevant and innovative ways.
truth® provides facts and information about tobacco products and the tobacco industry, and gives teens tools that enable them to take control and make informed decisions about tobacco use.
The objective of truth® is to change social norms and reduce youth smoking. Recent data has shown that historic declines in youth smoking have stalled, making truth®’s life-saving messages more important than ever.
truth® is a multi-dimensional, constantly evolving campaign, featuring television and print advertising, a Web site, social networking sites, and interactive elements; events; and grassroots outreach through a summer tour. All efforts are focused directly to teens that are most likely to smoke and need information most.
5. Does truth® work in reducing youth smoking?
Yes, the most recent data from March of 2005, proves that truth® is responsible for a 22 percent overall decline in youth smoking between the years 2000 and 2002. That means that by 2002, there were 300,000 fewer smokers because of truth®.
The truth® campaign has won more than 300 awards for its effective advertising, and has been applauded by leading Federal and state public health officials, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and former President George Bush. Additionally, through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the foundation has committed nearly $35 million over four years in grant awards to 17 states to foster statewide youth-led efforts against tobacco use.
6. Can you provide funds or assistance to my international organization?
The American Legacy Foundation was formed to reduce tobacco use in the United States. The MSA requires our activities to be conducted within the U.S. and its territories. For this reason, we will not be able to provide assistance with any international organizations or efforts.
7. Can you provide grants to my organization?
Changing social behaviors takes a sustained wide-spread effort. Creating tobacco-free generations in America will occur not because of one public awareness campaign, but because of national and grassroots programs working in tandem over time. That's why the American Legacy Foundation's Grants Initiatives are so important. At the heart of the Foundation's grants program is the commitment to identify new and better tobacco control programs.
The Foundation grants typically fall into two major categories: National Calls for Proposals and Small Innovative Grants. Periodically, the foundation may also issue a grant as a Research Demonstration Project. Since 2000, the Foundation has made more than $150 million in grants and commitments.
8. What are “Priority Populations?”
Priority Populations are those ethnic, racial and socio-economic communities in our nation that meet three criteria:
• Communities who have been targeted by tobacco companies
• Communities that experience disproportionate smoking rates and tobacco-related illnesses Communities that are “vulnerable” (i.e., less able to address public health issues or have less access to public health services)
The Priority Populations that the Foundation has identified are: African American; Native American; Asian American – Pacific Islander: Hispanic; Low Socioeconomic status; and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender populations.
9. I have an idea for an ad. Can I discuss it with a representative from the Foundation?
We work with a number of agencies across the country to develop campaigns and initiatives. While we appreciate your offer and your interest in the organization, we have a strict policy against accepting unsolicited creative material. However, you may want to get involved in tobacco control efforts in your community. You can contact your local Board of Health to find out how you can get involved and what campaigns are in development in your area.