Twenty-five years ago, we were created to take on Big Tobacco. Victory was hardly certain in a world where Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man were accepted cultural icons attracting and addicting new generations of smokers. Guided by our commitment to health and social justice, and dedicated to smart, tenacious advocacy in support of proven public policies and programs, we stood tall in partnership with others to prevent millions of premature deaths and protect our kids.
The result? Countless lives saved and proof that passionate, strategic advocates can defeat the toughest of foes.
But that was just the beginning. Lowering the teen smoking rate by 84% in the United States wasn’t just progress, it was invaluable practice for addressing the global tobacco epidemic. Our success has provided a roadmap for efforts to end preventable death from tobacco across the globe. Over the last 15 years, we have worked with local partners and allies in low- and middle-income countries to prevent over 35 million premature deaths.
A quarter century of going toe to toe with the tobacco industry has proven the power of relentless advocacy to save lives. Using that success as our compass we have set our sights on tackling other public health challenges through our Global Health Advocacy Incubator. Because if we can accomplish one seemingly impossible task, why not others? We know what works and we are using the skills, knowledge and lessons learned to reduce needless deaths from other causes, such as road crashes, unhealthy food and sugary drinks, drowning, and other public health issues.
That’s why this year isn’t just a celebration — it’s a recommitment. To redouble our efforts to create the first tobacco-free generation and address other seemingly intractable public health challenges. To build a more equitable, just and healthier future. To tackle adversity with collaboration, intimidation with integrity, and deception with evidence.
We are fighting for health, for kids, for equity, for change, for you. And together, we are Taking on the Toughest Fights.