The "Be the First" campaign will include education, advocacy and tobacco control initiatives, and healthy behavior programming directed at youth and young adults who use tobacco or who are at risk of becoming regular tobacco users, as well as elementary school students who, without early tobacco education, may become tobacco users. In partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Scholastic Inc., the American Cancer Society, and the National Urban League, the initiative will work to effect a 3 percent decline in the national youth smoking rate, a 10 percent decline in the number of new youth smokers, and a doubling of the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses. The initiative also will support community-based cessation programs for adult smokers who expose children to tobacco use.
To achieve its goals, the initiative will launch a #BeTheFirst social media campaign featuring shareable videos, graphics, and digital tools that enable youth to express their commitment to leading tobacco-free lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day more than thirty-eight hundred children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette and more than twenty-one hundred youth and young adults who have experimented with cigarettes become regular smokers.
"Both the public health community and private sectors must work together if we are to advance a national strategy to end the tobacco epidemic, especially among our children," said Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and a member of a national advisory group that has been convened by CVS Health to help guide the initiative. "We applaud CVS Health for continuing to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives with this significant investment in the health and well-being of the next generation of Americans."