CVS Health announced on Thursday, March 10 that it will spend $50 million for a new anti-smoking campaign called "Be The First."
The said project will run for five years and aims to give rise to the first tobacco-free generation in the U.S.
"Tobacco use, especially among our youth, is one of the most pressing public health issues that we face today," says CVS Health president Eileen Howard Boone.
She says that the company is happy to contribute further resources to the community and collaborate with experts to help smokers quit and ensure that non-smokers never start the habit.
Eye On The Goal
The goal of the campaign is to help people live tobacco-free lives. More specifically, the company is looking at contributing to 3 percent and 10 percent drops in the youth smoking rate nationwide and in the rates of new smokers respectively.
CVS also hopes to double the number of academic institutions that will deem itself as tobacco-free.
How Does CVS Plan To Achieve These Goals?
Be The First will be composed of activities that will center on advocacy, in-depth education, tobacco control and promotion of healthy behaviors. Such actions are rooted from recognizing two things: the increasing tobacco use among young people and the fact that smoking is the top preventable cause of diseases and deaths in the U.S.
CVS is collaborating with public health sectors that have already formed best practices in preventing tobacco use. Partnering with more groups will help boost the campaign and bring the company closer to the goal of giving rise to a tobacco-free generation.
Some of these partners will start to launch programs in the coming weeks. For example, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Scholastic Inc. will launch new and wider tobacco education programming. CVS will also work with the American Cancer Society and the National Urban League for advocacy and tobacco-control efforts to hasten the decrease of tobacco use among teenagers and young adults.
Tapping Social Media
CVS will also try to create a tobacco-free social media by producing shareable videos and other digital graphic materials that will inspire the youth to commit to the cause. The goal is to drive young people to be part of the first tobacco-free generation and to negate social media materials that promote the use of tobacco among teens.
Studies have shown that social media materials that contain information about tobacco use predict future smoking tendencies more than television and movies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 3,800 young people aged 18 years old and below smoke their first cigarette every day. Aside from that more than 2,100 of youth transform into regular smokers each day.
First-hand smoking is not the only problem as statistics show that 40.6 percent kids aged 3 to 11 years old and 33.8 percent of those aged between 12 and 19 are exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis, whether inside their homes or in public places.
The U.S. Surgeon General predicts that 5.6 million young people today who will prematurely die due to smoking will have normal life expectancy if only the rates of youth tobacco use will be reduced.