The Goal

Kids never start: protect our kids.

Objective: To increase the percentage of Alaskan youth who never start using tobacco.

It is in the tobacco industry’s best interest to foster and encourage the next generation of tobacco users. The tobacco prevention and control movement must be vigilant and work to support people, notably youth, in their choice to never start to smoke.

To be successful in preventing tobacco use, many interrelated systems must be in place – an effective enforcement program discouraging the sale of tobacco products to minors; strong educational programs in the schools and at the community level to help kids engage in healthy activities; effective counter-marketing efforts that reach youth; and a strong policy foundation.

Current Focus

Focus effort on bringing youth into the broad tobacco prevention coalition – build grassroots support around the state.

Why Are We Doing This?

Never Start

Almost 90% of smokers began smoking before they could legally buy cigarettes at age 19. The average age smokers start is age 15. If a person is not a smoker by 19, he or she is unlikely to become one.

New Smokers

Alaska gains 1,100 new youth smokers every year.


18,000 Alaskan kids now alive will die of tobacco-related causes.


Youth purchase of tobacco dropped significantly from 27% in 1995 to 8% in 2009.


The current rate of youth tobacco use in Alaska is 16% and declining, below the national average of 20%. Since 1995, youth tobacco use has been reduced 50%.


For every thousand kids kept from smoking by a state program, future healthcare costs in the state decline by roughly $16 million (in current dollars), and for every thousand adults prompted to quit, future health costs drop by roughly $8.5 million.”

(Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids)

What We’re Doing

  • Chad Bullock, a young man who has won national media recognition for taking on “Big Tobacco,” is in Anchorage to kick off his national Lips Campaign, an effort to get young people involved in antismoking advocacy by taking pictures of friends’ lips and getting them to pledge to remain tobacco-free. The idea for the Lips Campaign was generated after Bullock learned of a quote from a major tobacco company representative who, when asked the age of the kids they were targeting, replied, “They got lips? We want them.”
  • The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) created the Play for Keeps Campaign, a statewide Tobacco, Alcohol and Controlled Substance program focused on students participating in high school interscholastic activities. The program is designed to reinforce good decisions and a healthy lifestyle for young people by imposing sanctions supported by educational components for those who do not follow the rules.

2011 ATCA Tobacco Summit Youth Track

The Youth Track of the 2011 ATCA Tobacco Summit created their own tagline to represent the sentiment they would bring back to tobacco programs in their own communities; “Smokefree Alaska: Keepin’ It Clean.”

TATU Parade 2010

TATU Superheroes at the 2010 TATU parade.

TATU Relay4Life Team 2011

TATU participated in the 2011 Relay4Life Team and raised over $1000.

Mat-Su TATU Spirit of Youth Award

Mat-Su TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) Teen Group was recognized with the Spirit of Youth Award.

Smokefree Homes Campaign

Smokefree Homes Campaign

Radio PSA

This radio PSA was created by the Youth Action Coalition at BRHS. Script authors and speakers were (right to left) Natalia Mochin, Asa Brown, and Sonya Thomas.

Listen to the PSA: Youth Action Coalition Radio PSA (137)

Youth BMX Posters

BMX-themed PSA ads created by Bethel Regional High School Teens and Northwest Strategies.

View more:

Smokefree Teens Radio Ad Campaign