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July 14, 2015


Award-winning Campaign Rallies Students to Start Movements on Their Campuses

Washington, DC – Syracuse University officially became a tobacco-free campus today. The award-winning truth campaign is celebrating this victory in a new online video and launching an online petition to spur more colleges and universities to adopt tobacco-free policies.

Targeting college campuses makes sense: 94 percent of smokers start before age 20 and tobacco-free policies are proven effective tobacco control strategies. Syracuse is not alone in going tobacco-free. The number of colleges and universities with 100% smoke- or tobacco-free policies has tripled in recent years growing from 446 campuses in 2010 to 1,543 campuses in 2015. But there are 6,100 college campuses in the U.S. that have not adopted such policies including University of Southern California, Howard University, Northwestern University, George Mason University, and Texas A&M to name a few.

As part of its Finish It campaign, truth is highlighting Syracuse as an example of an effort to spark youth to use their passion, creativity and influence to push their schools to go tobacco-free.

“The Syracuse Orange experience offers a powerful example of how students can rally together to end tobacco.,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Legacy, the national public health foundation that directs and funds truth, and a graduate of Syracuse University. “I’m proud of my alma mater, and I’m proud that truth is using Syracuse’s bold action to encourage other college students and campuses to go tobacco-free.”

The Finish It campaign launched in August 2014 to engage youth and young adults to use their creativity and social influence to end tobacco use for good. “College students have the power to end tobacco use,” said Ritney Castine, Director, Youth Activism at Legacy. “This online effort starts with the premise that any student can start or join a movement on his or her campus, share progress with students elsewhere and contribute to nationwide progress in the fight against the tobacco epidemic.”

Today only 8% of teens smoke – that’s down from 23% in 2000. But tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., which makes tobacco-free policies so important. Any college campus can follow the Syracuse example and any individual can lead the charge on his or her campus. Collectively students can call on their college or university by signing on to the petition at

In addition to this bold move from Syracuse, truth is highlighting other areas of progress in the effort to make this the generation that ends tobacco use. There are more “progress reports” available online.

About truth
truth® is the most successful and one of the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign. The campaign exposes the tactics of the tobacco industry, the truth about addiction, and the health effects and social consequences of smoking. truth gives teens facts and information about the tobacco industry and its products, allowing them to make their own informed choices about tobacco use. Research-proven as an effective public health intervention, the campaign is credited with keeping hundreds of thousands of teens from starting to smoke. To learn more, visit http://www.thetruth.comtruth is directed and funded by Legacy, a national public health foundation located in Washington, D.C. Legacy 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


Media Contacts:
Sarah Shank

Mickey Chagnon