Legacy® Announces Bold Commitment To Jumpstart The Next Wave Of Declines In Youth Smoking

Grounding-breaking truth® Campaign to Amplify, Coordinate with Federal Anti-Tobacco Efforts; Major Agency Review to Be Conducted for New Work

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Legacy, the national public health non-profit created out of the landmark 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), today announced it will be launching agency reviews for its nationally recognized, proven-effective youth smoking prevention campaign, truth®.  The move signals a significant effort to expand the campaign at a time when the US Food & Drug Administration and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be in the marketplace with bold anti-tobacco mass media initiatives. Together, the campaigns will serve as catalysts intended to spark a second wave of historic declines in tobacco use.  

To dramatically impact youth smoking prevalence nationally, Legacy recognizes that in today's cluttered media landscape, an increased investment in paid advertising is vital to reaching a national audience.  Over the next three years, Legacy will devote new and significant resources to truth®, to help augment the important work being conducted by the federal government in both youth prevention and adult cessation. This national paid advertising will supplement truth's extensive grassroots and digital outreach -- 'connecting all dots' with the youth audience that the campaign strives to reach in strategic ways.

This process marks a periodic review to build on the campaign's legacy and evolution by increasing its presence and reach among teens in the years to come. "Three proven-effective measures driving down youth smoking are: bold counter-marketing campaigns, price increases via state and federal tobacco excise taxes, and adoption of clean indoor air initiatives," said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and CEO of Legacy. "By increasing our investment in truth, we can expand its bold messaging and continue to save the lives of teens and young adults," Healton said.

"Every dollar counts when we have to compete with the billions of dollars that the tobacco industry spends each year promoting its deadly products," said Eric Asche, Legacy's Chief Marketing Officer. "It's a David versus Goliath fight and we're dependent on great partners to help us battle for market share.  We have nothing but the highest praise for Arnold Worldwide, PHD and the agencies with whom we've been so fortunate to work with over the course of the past 14 years. With this new infusion of funding and support for truth, we've got an unprecedented opportunity to look at the campaign anew and we're certain both agencies will take part in this review. Coupled with the historic efforts by the CDC and FDA, we're confident that 'this rising tide will lift all boats' and longer, healthier lives will be the result," he added.

Legacy will be reviewing both creative and media planning/buying agencies over the next several months and expects to make a decision by the end of the year.  Both incumbents are expected to defend.  Pile + Company will be handling the review.

Research has shown youth smoking prevalence has declined over the last 15 years, with the most recent Monitoring the Future study finding that youth smoking prevalence now stands at a rate of 10.6%. The vast majority of states that have received funds from the MSA since 1998 have failed to invest even the minimum percentages recommended by the CDC in effective youth tobacco prevention efforts. Concurrently, the US tobacco industry has recently increased its annual marketing spending to $8.8 Billion in the US alone, promoting a steady stream of new and emerging tobacco products entering the marketplace.

Credited with preventing an estimated 450,000 youth from starting to smoke between 2000 and 2004, truth has long been recognized as an award-winning innovator in changing social norms around smoking. For more than a decade, the campaign has saved lives by arming America's most at-risk teens with the facts about tobacco use and the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The campaign – which over the years has included everything from advertisements on television, in magazines and online, to new mobile games and an annual grassroots summer tour -- has been recognized nationally and internationally for its ground-breaking successes.

Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.

Follow us on Twitter @legacyforhealth and Facebook www.Facebook.com/Legacy.



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