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Saving lives through truth

Research confirms that the truth® campaign changes teens' attitudes and behaviors toward smoking: Teens aware of truth are twice as likely to say they do not intend to smoke in the future. When you change smoking behaviors, you save lives.

From the start of the campaign we have evaluated and shared the effectiveness of our work, including publishing our results in respected academic journals. A study published in the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that during the first four years of the campaign, truth was directly responsible for keeping 450,000 teens from starting to smoke. A second paper in the same journal found the campaign not only paid for itself in its first two years but also saved roughly $1.9 billion and possibly up to $5.4 billion in medical care costs.

With a multi-dimensional approach, we take the campaign beyond traditional advertisements. Online engagement and grassroots outreach through summer tours and events are critical components. Over 16 years on the road, we have counted everyone we’ve met on the tour, everyone we’ve talked with, and everyone we’ve armed with t-shirts, skateboard decks and other gear with designs that include facts about tobacco use and the tobacco industry. Since summer 2000, we’ve reached nearly five million people and given away almost four million t-shirts, hats, bandannas and other branded gear.

And we continue to measure: Our Truth Longitudinal Cohort Study is following more than 14,000 young people aged 15 to 21, for three years to evaluate the effectiveness of our #FinishIt campaign. The size and scope of this study demonstrates our commitment to evaluating the effectiveness of our work and contributing to the understanding of youth tobacco control public education efforts. Although it is quite early in the life of the study, already we are seeing encouraging results.