The American Legacy Foundation and Mayo Clinic announce collaboration to reduce smoking rates

Creators of successful youth smoking prevention campaign truth® and world-renowned health care organization join forces to help smokers quit

WASHINGTON, D.C. and ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The American Legacy Foundation® and Mayo Clinic announced today their first collaboration together, to marry the expertise of the Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center and the American Legacy Foundation's public health and marketing acumen to help smokers who want to quit to be successful.

Approximately 45 million Americans in the United States smoke and, according to a 2004 Centers for Disease Control report, nearly 15 million smokers tried to quit in the past year. Further research also indicates that most smokers who want to quit do not understand what it takes to conquer their tobacco dependence, or indeed underestimate how powerful that addiction can be.

The American Legacy Foundation, with Mayo Clinic providing clinical expertise, has developed cessation materials for the pilot phase of EXsm, an innovative new multi-channel program designed to help people stop smoking. The campaign is being test marketed in four U.S. cities from fall 2006 through spring 2007. The two organizations have together created a quit manual and online resources that intentionally avoid anti-smoking overtones used in past campaigns and instead provide those who want to quit with resources to develop a comprehensive quit plan, including expert advice, pharmacotherapies (nicotine patch, lozenges or gum, or bupropion or varenicline), preparation and planning. Additionally, this clinical partnership extends to the foundation's efforts in Hollywood, California.

"Tools such as counseling, online resources and our EX Quit Manual can reinforce the behaviors that will help a smoker to finally quit," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "Our hope is that these planning tools will help reduce the physical and mental barriers that prohibit smokers from successfully quitting, and teach them how to conquer their nicotine addictions by changing their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes related to quitting."

"Mayo Clinic is proud to work with the American Legacy Foundation," said Dr. Richard Hurt, director of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center. "Our Center has helped more than 33,000 people with tobacco dependence, and through this collaboration we can help even more people to stop smoking and live healthier and longer lives. Our goal is to use our clinical expertise to help as many smokers as possible who want to quit to be successful."

EX Test Market Specifics

The EX pilot campaigns, developed in partnership with lead agency GSD&M, from Austin, Texas, will include bilingual, multi-cultural television and radio advertising encouraging smokers who are ready to quit to receive free cessation counseling and the EX Quit Manual by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting www.BecomeAnEx.org. To raise awareness of the EX materials in the pilot sites, the American Legacy Foundation will also tap into existing public health and tobacco control networks including local coalitions in the following test market cities:

  • Buffalo, N.Y.: Pilot launched Sept. 26, 2006
  • San Antonio, TX: Launch date Monday, Oct. 30, 2006
  • Grand Rapids, Mich.: Launch date Thursday, Nov.16, 2006
  • Baltimore, MD: Launch date Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007

"With our understanding of tobacco dependence and related health issues, it is imperative that we work to lessen its impact on society," said Dr. Denis Cortese, CEO of Mayo Clinic. "Ultimately we need to stamp out tobacco use, and this is a step in the right direction."

"We hope that EX will become the factor that makes a difference for the millions of people in our country who want to quit smoking right now," added Healton. "Each of these individuals is someone who could succeed in their next quit attempt if we reach them with the right combination of messages and resources."

Legacy will be conducting extensive research evaluating the outcomes of the campaign in the four pilot cities with the intent of launching EX nationally in 2007 with a comprehensive public-private alliance of national and state-based public health, government, nonprofit and corporate partners.

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The American Legacy Foundation® is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use through grants, technical assistance and training, youth activism, strategic partnerships, counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns, research, public relations, and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco. The foundation's national programs include truth®, Great Start® and a Priority Populations Initiative. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five US territories, and the tobacco industry. Visit www.americanlegacy.org.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization with outpatient and hospital facilities in Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., and Rochester, Minn. It is dedicated to an integrated mission of innovative patient care, scientific medical research and academic medical education. Mayo Clinic's hallmark is teamwork – applying the wisdom and expertise of numerous specialists for each patient. The mission of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center is to promote tobacco-free living through an integrated program of intervention services, education and research. Visit http://ndc.mayo.edu for more information on the Center or http://www.mayoclinic.org for more about Mayo Clinic.

Started as an advertising agency in 1971 by six entrepreneurial college graduates, GSD&M has become a destination for companies seeking visionary ideas that solve their significant marketing problems. Believing that collaboration leads to innovation, GSD&M partners with creative thinkers across a wide and diverse range of disciplines. Their unique style has helped build some of the country's most respected brands, including BMW, Wal-Mart, the new AT&T, MasterCard, Chili's, DreamWorks SKG and the U.S. Air Force.

To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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