truth and the Vans Warped Tour take their final ride
Over the last 19 years, truth has impacted more than 1 million young people as part of the Vans Warped Tour. This year, truth is bringing back the iconic orange truth truck and its riders to dance their way across the country, share facts about tobacco and inspire concertgoers to join the generation that ends smoking for good.
Ninety-nine percent of smokers start smoking by age 26, making young people particularly susceptible to the tobacco industry’s manipulative tactics. Further, every day in the U.S., more than 3,200 people under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. truth uses peer-to-peer interactions to lower the rate at which young people use tobacco products, one tour stop at a time. When truth first joined the Vans Warped Tour on the road in 2000, the rate of teen cigarette smoking in the U.S. was at 23 percent. Today, the teen smoking rate has reached a historic low of 5.4 percent.
"The Vans Warped Tour offers an invaluable opportunity to engage with our audience in a unique and personal way while building a movement of activists nationwide," said Eric Asche, chief marketing officer of Truth Initiative®, the national public health organization that directs and funds truth. "We know music is a powerful force for change, and our years on tour have given us the chance to inspire youth to use their voice and speak out against Big Tobacco. We thank Vans for their part in helping us save lives."
The truth tour riders are made up of young activists from states across the country, including:
- Tour Manager, Kami Thomas (Ocala, Fla.)
- Assistant Tour Manager, Esai Guerrero (Tucson, Ariz.)
- Brian Ochiagha (Tucson, Ariz.)
- Lexes O’Hara (Springfield, Ill.)
- Shakon Fleming (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Erin Slay (St. Louis, Mo.)
- Meagan Henderson (San Marcos, Texas)
- Ricky Pinela (Orlando, Fla.)
- DJ Athenz
At each tour stop, truth will be offering:
- Games, live music, contests and giveaways, allowing truth tour riders to share tobacco facts with fans while they rock out to their favorite artists
- Tons of truth-branded "merch" giveaways, including t-shirts, hats and accessories
"It is inspiring to see the impact we have had on tobacco use over the years through our presence at Vans Warped Tour," said Kami Thomas, tour manager and four-time truth tour rider. "Big or small, every action counts, and we hope to encourage the people we meet this summer to keep spreading the truth message in their own communities long after the tour is over."