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Press Release

Young people take back the shelves and demand that pharmacies stop selling tobacco products

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Pharmacies are a trusted source of health information and services. Yet in 2016, more than 50,000 pharmacies still sell tobacco -- the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 1,300 people each day. That’s why, a global movement of over 5.5 million young people and truth, the most successful tobacco prevention campaign, have teamed up for Take Back the Shelves, a campaign that asks young people to creatively use social media to demand that pharmacies remove tobacco from shelves.

Beginning today through December 31, 2016, young people can sign up for the campaign at where they will learn about how tobacco companies attract young consumers by displaying their products at point-of-sale, behind checkout counters and on eye-level shelves. Participants will be asked to download a template and create artwork with items they want to see behind pharmacy checkout counters instead of tobacco products. Young people will then share their drawings on social media with #TakeBacktheShelves tagging a pharmacy to ask them to remove tobacco products from their shelves.

“Tobacco and pharmacies just don’t mix,” said Aria Finger, CEO at “In 2014, CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products and we hope that other pharmacies will follow their lead and listen to young people. We are working with truth in asking pharmacies to remove tobacco products altogether because we believe this can be the generation to end smoking for good.”

Kira Kosarin, the 19-year-old star of Nickelodeon’s The Thundermansrecorded a public service announcement to encourage fans to join the effort and show pharmacies what they want to see on the shelves instead of tobacco products.

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and that’s why I’m proud to join the movement to end smoking. I want to do anything I can to inform and keep my generation from starting to smoke in the first place,” said Kira Kosarin.

“At truth, we never shy away from speaking out about the tactics used and products sold by Big Tobacco – this campaign with is no different,” said Eric Asche, Chief Marketing Officer, Truth Initiative, the organization that runs truth. “The power to create social change is in the hands of today’s young people. We know that creativity and social influence are tools that we can use to encourage pharmacies to remove tobacco products; a decision that is truly in the best interest of the consumer. We invite all pharmacies to join the Finish It movement to end smoking and the deadly impact it has on society.”

While the teen cigarette smoking rate is 7 percent - an all-time low - Big Tobacco hasn’t walked away and the fight isn’t over yet.  truth and are building on this momentum and rallying a new generation to finish smoking for good.  By encouraging young people to use their creativity, they are building the generation to ‘#FinishIT.’

To learn more about Take Back the Shelves, click here.

To view the PSA, click here.

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