Newswise — The national youth smoking-prevention campaign known as truth®, likely prevented 450,000 adolescents from initiating smoking, according to a new study by researchers at RTI International.

"Given the substantial lifetime health and economic burden of smoking, preventing adolescents and young adults from beginning to smoke is a smart investment in public health," said Matthew Farrelly, Ph.D., senior director of RTI's Public Health Policy Research Program. "These results come at a time when funding for smoking-prevention programs in the U.S. is declining."

The study, published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, used data from the on-going National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that interviewed almost 9,000 adolescents annually from 1997 to 2004. The participants ranged in age from 15 to 20 when the truth® campaign was launched in February 2000.

The results of the study suggest that from 2000 to 2004 there were 450,000 fewer 15 to 24 year olds who initiated smoking as a result of the truth® campaign. The researchers also found that for every $544 spent on the campaign during its first four years, one fewer adolescent initiated smoking. The authors suggest that the cost is modest compared to other health interventions.

The truth® campaign spent $245 million on television advertising from 2000 through 2004, highlighting deceptive tobacco industry marketing tactics and stark facts about the dangers of cigarette smoking. The ad campaign was funded by the American Legacy Foundation.

The study was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

About RTI International:RTI International is one of the world's leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Our staff of more than 2,800 provides research and technical expertise to governments and businesses in more than 40 countries in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory and chemistry services. For more information, visit

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American Journal of Preventive Medicine