Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, PH


Dr. Cheryl Healton is an academic, educator, researcher, and public health visionary. As the founding president and CEO of Legacy, a national public health foundation devoted to keeping teens from smoking and helping all smokers quit, Dr. Healton has been the driving force behind effective and award-winning national campaigns that help save lives. Her passion for tobacco prevention and cessation is deeply personal. She lost her mother and other loved ones to tobacco-related disease, and she herself waged a 25-year battle ? ultimately successful ? to overcome her own addiction to nicotine. The award-winning truth? youth-smoking prevention campaign is just one example of Dr. Healton?s public health successes. Eighty percent of smokers start smoking before age 18, and choosing to smoke is often a mark of rebellion as teens grow into adulthood. Recognizing this distinction within behavioral research, Dr. Healton challenged conventional thinking about tobacco prevention by changing its approach: instead of chastising young people, truth? focused on providing information to teens by tapping into their naturally rebellious feelings, enabling them to make their own informed choices about smoking. As the campaign celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2010, a growing body of research has validated the campaign?s approach; a 2009 study found that during the first four years of the campaign, truth? was found to be directly responsible keeping 450,000 from starting to smoke. In 2007, Dr. Healton led the call to action demanding a new cigarette brand be taken off the market. Camel No. 9 featured slick packaging marketed toward young women and was advertised in magazines popular with the same demographic. Dr. Healton rallied more than 45 public health groups to jointly call for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to remove its Camel No. 9 cigarettes from stores nationwide. As a result of these efforts, R.J. Reynolds announced its decision in late 2007 to discontinue print advertising of its cigarette brands in 2008. The fight continues, as Dr. Healton and others continue to monitor industry marketing activities closely with a focus on youth, and young women. She has also been a leading advocate for removing gratuitous smoking in Hollywood films. Dr. Healton has also worked to realize her vision of a national public-private partnership to help smokers quit. For the past three years, a number of state and national organizations have aligned to create a unified voice in educating Americans about smoking cessation through a national quit smoking campaign called EX, which first launched in 2008. EX is designed to help smokers ?re-learn? life without cigarettes, taking an innovative approach to help the 46 million Americans who smoke to quit. The program includes a multi-media advertising effort, a Web site with a quit smoking community feature and grassroots effort support implemented by member groups and states. Currently, more than 220,000 smokers have signed up to Become an EX. Dr. Healton frequently appears in the media, conducts guest lectures, and speaks at conferences and events ? all to further educate Americans about the debilitating toll tobacco use continues to take on our society, killing more than 400,000 Americans each year.

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