This video features Legacy’s Immediate Past President and CEO, Cheryl Healton, Dr.PH.
The vast majority of young people DON’T smoke.
In fact, the rate of tobacco use among teens has reached a historic low of just 8%. That’s why Legacy’s truth® campaign is empowering this generation to FINISH IT once and for all and create the first generation for whom tobacco use is a thing of the past.
truth is a national tobacco prevention counter-marketing campaign for youth and young adults. It provides young people with facts and information about the health and social consequences of tobacco and the marketing tactics of the industry that sells it, so that they can make informed decisions about its use. Developed from extensive formative research with young people, truth presents its life-saving public health messages in the form of a brand that young people can affiliate with instead of tobacco brands. And to give them the opportunity to experience truth first-hand in their communities, the grassroots "truth tour" travels the country to connect with young people in person and engage with them on a peer-to-peer level at concerts, sporting events, skateparks and other venues.
With the launch of the new FINISH IT campaign, truth is taking its outreach to the next level. Rather than just focusing on the 8% of teens who smoke, we’re expanding our messaging to rally a volunteer army of the 92% who don’t and leveraging their influence to de-normalize smoking – particularly social smoking – among their peers.
When young people smoke, they feel powerful. So if we’re going to tell them not to smoke, we need to give them something else to achieve that feeling. FINISH IT gives young people the opportunity to exercise their power by activating around a clear and tangible goal worth fighting for – being the generation that ends smoking.
Since launching in 2000, truth has had a direct impact on the nation’s health. Research has documented that truth’s messages resonate strongly with its target, including important racial/ethnic minority groups, and numerous studies have shown that exposure to the campaign is associated with changes in tobacco-related attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. In its first four years alone, truth is estimated to have prevented 450,000 youth from using tobacco. Findings suggest that truth messages may promote attitudinal and behavioral change in young adults as well.
Furthermore, a cost-effectiveness study found that the campaign not only paid for itself in its first two years but also saved between $1.9 and $5.4 billion in medical care costs to society. The campaign has also been lauded by leading federal and state public health officials, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and former President George H.W. Bush. And most recently, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention included truth in its portfolio of effective programs.