Public Service Announcement

Campaign to Lower Smoking Among Teens is Working, But Still More to Do

August 18, 2014

According to the Department of Health and Social Services , 37 percent of Alaska teens smoked cigarettes in 1995. In 2011, that number had decreased to 14 percent. The national statistics show a similar decrease—9 percent of teens today smoke versus 23 percent in 2000. The trend is moving in the right direction, but there are still approximately 3,200 teens per day in the U.S. who smoke a cigarette for the first time. The American Legacy Foundation, established by money from the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement, seeks to get the numbers down to zero.

In 1998, Alaska, along with 45 other states, entered into the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies to settle Medicaid lawsuits brought by the states to recover the tobacco-related healthcare-costs the states had incurred. In addition to providing payments to the states, part of the money went to establishing the American Legacy Foundation. Clearly, the foundation’s efforts have produced results in the past decade as the number of teen smokers has decreased and the amount of information about tobacco and its harmful effects has increased.

Starting this month, the American Legacy Foundation is launching an aggressive new campaign with one goal in mind–to finally end youth smoking in the United States for good. To jumpstart additional declines in youth smoking prevalence, the foundation has launched a bold new chapter in the evolution of the truth® national youth smoking prevention campaign, designed to reach and empower youth ages 15 to 21. The campaign crosses television, online and social platforms.

To get involved you can:

  • X Your Profile: Starting September 2, fans of truth® can use a new app to change their profile photo to show their support in the fight to end smoking; and
  • Visit thetruth.com for more information and resources.

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