Skip to main content
News Article News Article

truth campaign to focus on smoker’s wage gap

The truth® campaign is shining a spotlight on the fact that smokers earn 20 percent less than non-smokers with two new ads, #SQUADLESS and the “smoker’s wage gap.” The ads are scheduled to debut during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28.

According to a new survey from Truth Initiative, 88 percent of young adults don’t know that smokers make 20 percent less than non-smokers. The ads show how smoking equals less financial stability, which means less cash to spend on fun times with your friends or “squad,” leaving smokers #SQUADLESS.

Smoking affects just about everything teens care about: relationships, the health of their pets and how much money they make. The videos, while humorous in tone, hit on key concerns with teens. According to research from The Future Company’s 2016 TRU Youth MONITOR, not having enough money is one of the three biggest complaints (31 percent) about teens daily lives.

“For today’s youth, less income means missing out on things they care about,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “While they know tobacco is expensive, they often don’t realize just how much it’s costing them now and in the future. By highlighting the disparity in earning potential between smokers and non-smokers, an inequity that teens can control, we are giving them yet another reason to end smoking for good.”

The #SQUADLESS video, which received coverage ahead of Sunday in Campaign, is part of truth’s Finish It campaign that launched in August 2014. In the past year, truth has topped the North American Effie Index in a three-way tie for first place with CVS Health and Walmart for the most effective brand. truth also took home four Effie awards for its “Finish It” / “Left Swipe Dat” campaigns.

Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in this country. Additionally, people living below the poverty level and people with lower levels of educational attainment have higher rates of cigarette smoking than the general population. It’s been shown through history that they are also often targeted by the tobacco industry at disproportionate rates.