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July 24, 2018

100 Organizations Pledge to Quit Tobacco

Momentum builds in campaign to get businesses and non-profit organizations to pledge to not work with the tobacco industry and its ad agency partners

(New York, USA) – 100 businesses, non-profits and universities have signed a pledge to Quit Big Tobacco, drawing a clear line between responsible business and an industry whose products kill 7 million people annually. The Quit Big Tobacco campaign and pledge, which was launched earlier this year by Vital Strategies, asks businesses and non-profits to:

1. Pledge to Quit Big Tobacco and its ad partners, including NOT working with ad agencies, PR firms or marketing firms that work with Big Tobacco.

2. Pledge to not accept money from Big Tobacco, including NOT taking money from tobacco companies or the Philip Morris-funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. ALL money from Big Tobacco was earned by selling products that maim and kill people around the globe.

3. Pledge to ban tobacco in ALL forms from your events and venues, including NOT allowing Big Tobacco to sponsor or distribute cigarettes at organizational events or performances to hook young new smokers.

“Big tobacco uses advertising, grants, and sponsorships as a veneer to appeal to consumers, especially youth, and to mask the truth about this industry and its deadly product,” said Stephen Hamill, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Communication at Vital Strategies. “This exposure helps the industry fulfill its prime objective: To get as many people as possible addicted to tobacco, and the younger, the better. Quit Big Tobacco counteracts that by asking organizations committed to improving health and wellbeing to pledge not to work with an industry that sells death and disease, or its allies. We’re delighted that 100 organizations have now taken the pledge. It’s a significant milestone for the campaign.”

One billion people will die from tobacco-related diseases this century, if current trends hold. The Quit Big Tobacco campaign is drawing a line in the sand between Big Tobacco and organizations with wellness at their core – hospitals, insurance companies, international nonprofits, athletic apparel companies, universities, and food and nutrition companies – and asking those organizations to make a clear statement about their values by pledging to not work with the tobacco industry or its ad partners.

“Tobacco is so far off the spectrum compared to other companies or industries,” said Madalene Milano, a partner at GMMB, during a recent Quit Big Tobacco panel discussion. “We need ad agencies to show the same courage that other companies like CVS have shown in swearing off tobacco.”

The latest signatories of the pledge are available to view here.

Launched in March 2018, the Quit Big Tobacco campaign has already taken tens of millions of dollars off the table for agencies who work with tobacco. To learn more about the Quit Big Tobacco campaign and to sign the pledge, visit: www.quitbigtobacco.org.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health and tobacco control expert, please contact press@vitalstrategies.org

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