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Stopping the Spread of Tobacco Use Across Generations

March 15, 2017 | Community

CVS Health is proud to launch year two of Be The First, our initiative focused on anti-smoking education, tobacco-control advocacy and healthy behavior programming. The goal? Delivering the nation’s first tobacco-free generation.

Launched in March 2016, this five-year, $50 million commitment is aimed at three primary groups:

  • Youth and young adults who currently smoke or are at risk of becoming regular tobacco users;
  • The country’s 3 million elementary school children who, without early tobacco education, may become future tobacco users; and
  • Adult smokers who expose children to secondhand smoke and tobacco use.

Getting Results

In the year since Be The First’s launch, CVS Health has reached nearly 5 million youths with anti-smoking programming and has helped 20 colleges and universities pursue 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.


The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Kick Butts Day is a day of activism that helps youth find their voices in the fight against big tobacco. Kids and teens across the country participate in more than 1,000 events to raise awareness, educate peers and stand together for the common cause of reducing tobacco use in the United States. For more information, visit


Next Steps

“In the year since we introduced Be The First, we’ve seen very good progress but know there is much more to be done in schools, on college campuses and in our communities,” said Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation.

Ongoing plans to continue the momentum that began with Be The First include new and continuing partnerships that will bring the expertise needed to move one step closer to the first tobacco-free generation. These include:

  • Helping Our Kids Kick Butts – The CVS Health Foundation is funding a new online training program for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which provides courses to train youth and adults to become tobacco prevention ambassadors. This portal will help build on CTFK’s annual Kick Butts Day, a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and mobilize their communities in fighting tobacco use.
  • Promoting Tobacco-Free College Campuses – As part of our goal to double the number of tobacco-free educational institutions in the United States, the CVS Health Foundation and American Cancer Society will support more than 50 new schools in their tobacco-control efforts. The CVS Health Foundation and Truth Initiative will also work together to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities and community colleges across the country to adopt 100% tobacco-free policies.
  • Raising Community Awareness – CVS Health will be introducing a new approach to in-store fundraising with the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative. The campaign will make it easy for customers to spread tobacco-free messaging in their communities and find resources to help their communities go tobacco-free.
  • Smoking Cessation Services for Cancer Patients – We will continue to support community-based cessation programs for adults who smoke, and this spring, the CVS Health Foundation will invest nearly $1 million to address smoking cessation in the oncology care setting.

Be The First is funded through CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation. For more information, visit

For additional information about CVS Health’s efforts to curb tobacco use, visit our Tobacco Prevention and Cessation information center.