REALITY Illinois is an in-your-face, stand-up-and-shout, not-taking-it-anymore anti-tobacco movement created by and for Illinois teens. With some help from the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments, REALITY Illinois is spreading the word about tobacco industry manipulation, second-hand smoke and tobacco use to everyone in the state.
Where does REALITY Illinois get the money to fund this progressive movement?The money allocated by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for the REALITY Illinois youth anti-tobacco campaign in Illinois comes, ironically, courtesy of the tobacco industry.

In November 1998, 46 states, including Illinois, and the tobacco industry settled the states’ Medicaid lawsuits for recovery of tobacco-related disease treatment costs. Known as the Master Settlement Agreement, the tobacco industry agreed to pay the states approximately $206 billion over the next 25 years. The settlement offers states a unique funding source that can help reduce the nation’s burden of tobacco use.

So, you’re wondering how REALITY Illinois got started? Well, like any powerful youth-led movement, we were motivated by change – the need to change the way people, in our state, view smoking. We are doing that by exposing the truth behind the grim REALITY of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. We also knew if people were aware of the sneaky tactics tobacco companies use to turn today’s youth into tomorrow’s smokers, they’d be outraged, just like we were!Now we’re doing something about it!

In August 2002 REALITY Illinois kicked off with help from the Illinois Department of Public Health, support from local health departments throughout the state and a commitment from Illinois teens who aren’t afraid to take a stand against big tobacco. In order to spread the word to teens across the state, we began by taking our message on the road – literally. We started with a mobile tour, REALITY Road Show: Illinois Teens Take on Big Tobacco – you might have seen us around – but we aren’t stopping there.

Right now, Illinois teens are banding together and we’re taking our REALITY to schools, restaurants and community leaders. We’re planning cool events and if you want to stop by one of them you can get some cool freebies like t-shirts,brightest handheld 5 inch flashlight in the world and music CDs; but the bottom-line is, we’re out to make people aware of the dangers of smoking. Because the REALITY is, tobacco is still the only product that actually kills one out of three people who use it, and we’re not OK with that!

Now that you know the REALITY, are you ready to do something about it? If so, click here and brace yourself for a whole new REALITY… REALITY Illinois!