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Tobacco-Free Kids Training Program Reaches Over 1 Million Youth in First Year

Initiative Created with Support from CVS Health Foundation
March 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taking Down Tobacco, a comprehensive youth advocacy training program created by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, has reached over 1 million youth nationwide. In its first year, Taking Down Tobacco has been utilized by tobacco prevention programs in 20 states, training a new generation of young leaders to win the fight against tobacco.

Taking Down Tobacco is part of Be The First, CVS Health’s five-year, $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation and help people lead tobacco-free lives. Today, the initiative marks its second anniversary.

Geared toward middle and high school students, Taking Down Tobacco empowers youth to fight tobacco use in their schools, communities and states. With both online and in-person components, the program educates youth who are new to the fight against tobacco and provides advanced advocacy training for young leaders.

Educators can easily incorporate the program into classroom lesson plans as Taking Down Tobacco meets the CDC’s National Health Education Standards, developed to support health-enhancing behaviors for students in all grade levels, and Common Core state standards.

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is proud to be working with the CVS Health Foundation to create the first tobacco-free generation, and we’re thrilled that in just one year we’ve empowered over a million new youth advocates in the fight against tobacco,” said Bill Lee, executive vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “With the support of these young leaders, the program will grow even more, and we’ll be that much closer to the finish line in the fight against tobacco.”

With the CVS Health Foundation’s support, Tobacco-Free Kids also provided grants to eight national and state youth-serving organizations to implement Taking Down Tobacco trainings. The organizations are: Young Minds Inspired in partnership with the National Association of School Nurses; HOSA-Future Health Professionals; Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD); Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi Generation FREE Youth Advisory Board; Delaware Kick Butts Generation; Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) in Pennsylvania; and RAZE WV in West Virginia.

“Our support for Taking Down Tobacco is part of our Be The First initiative to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy for CVS Health and President of the CVS Health Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with a best-in-class organization like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to help people lead tobacco-free lives and empower young people to speak out against tobacco.”

Taking Down Tobacco is powered by Litmos by CallidusCloud, a learning management system with over 4 million users worldwide. In September, Taking Down Tobacco received a Lenny Award from CallidusCloud for successfully launching a learning program for an external audience.

Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 Americans and costing $170 billion in health care bills each year. Without strong action now, 5.6 million kids alive today will eventually die prematurely from tobacco use. More information about the toll of tobacco can be found at

For more information on Taking Down Tobacco, visit For more information on the CVS Health Foundation and Be The First, visit