Anti-tobacco campaigns drive down youth tobacco use 17.9-percent overall drop in smoking rates among high school students

INDIANAPOLIS- Youth tobacco prevention efforts are helping to curb the nation’s youth smoking rates, according to the American Legacy Foundation, which was created as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement. Legacy released results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) study last week proving the effectiveness of its truthsm counter marketing campaign.

The NYTS polled students in 69 schools and the results showed significant declines in youth tobacco use. Most dramatic was the 29-percent decline in youth smoking rates among students who have had high exposure to the truthsm ads. There was a 5.4-percent overall drop in smoking rates among middle school students and a 17.9- percent drop in current smoking rates among high school students (declining from 29 percent in 2000 to 23.8 percent in 2002).

Indiana has created a counter marketing campaign similar to truthsm to address the state’s high youth smoking rates. The most recent statistics for Indiana show that 32 percent of high school students smoke. ITPC sponsored a youth summit in April, which brought 300 teens from around the state together to create a movement against tobacco. The youth-led movement, named Voice, has a grassroots component in addition to a multi-media advertising campaign including radio and television advertising and a website,

“We are really excited to see that the truthsm campaign’s ads are working to cut down on teen smoking rates. Voice is working hard to make a similar impact in Indiana,” says Indiana Voice founding member, Patrick Hennessey from Evansville.