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This Free Life Campaign

This Free Life Campaign

This Real Life logo

There are more than 2 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young adults ages 18-24 living in the United States1 . LGBT young adults are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults, ultimately resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of LGBT lives to tobacco use each year2.

“This Free Life” is FDA’s public education campaign designed to prevent and reduce tobacco use among LGBT young adults who use tobacco occasionally. Through the use of authentic and credible messages from tobacco-free members of the LGBT community, the campaign encourages these young adults to draw inspiration from their peers to also live tobacco-free.

The campaign launched in May 2016 and has a national presence online through FDA’s social media and the campaign website. The paid advertising efforts (print, digital, and out-of-home) focus on existing LGBT media that reaches a high percentage of the target audience in 12 markets throughout the United States: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; New York City, NY; Portland, OR; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C. “This Free Life” will also use local event outreach in these target markets to promote being tobacco-free in the LGBT community.

Key Messages for the Target Audience

A group of young adults in front of a This Free Life multicolored flag“This Free Life” aims to reach LGBT young adults by appealing to their shared values, similar life experiences and common interests. The campaign reflects LGBT young adults’ desire to be “free” as it relates to their lives and experiences, and connects this desire to the importance of being free from tobacco. The essence of the campaign is expressed through its tagline: “Freedom to Be, Tobacco-Free.”

FDA expects the campaign will drive positive changes in knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among LGBT young adult occasional smokers within 24 months. Key campaign messages focus on topics such as:

  • The negative health consequences and addiction risks of tobacco use;
  • The dangerous mix of chemicals found in cigarette smoke; and
  • How tobacco use negatively affects aspects of life that are very important to LGBT young adults while a tobacco-free lifestyle aligns with LGBT ideals.

Measuring Success

FDA will conduct a rigorous, multi-year outcome evaluation designed to measure the campaign’s effectiveness in changing tobacco-related attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs. Baseline data collection was conducted in-person and online in 12 campaign-targeted markets and 12 control markets across the country. Baseline data collection will be followed by three follow-up surveys. 

Campaign Resources

Public health advocates, LGBT community leaders, and anyone else who is interested in spreading the word about “This Free Life” to LGBT audiences can use our campaign resources and suggested social media posts. FDA's goal is to keep “This Free Life” authentic through a peer-to-peer approach. Public health organizations and other interested stakeholders can and should use FDA's social media channels, including @FDATobacco on Twitter and www.facebook.com/FDA on Facebook to engage with us around the campaign.


  • The 2016 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) named the This Free Life campaign the Grand Prize winner of the Multicultural Excellence Award.
  • The 2017 Telly Awards named the This Free Life campaign the Bronze winner in the Cultural category for Video / Shows / Segments.
  • The 2017 Ad Pop Awards named the This Free Life campaign the Gold winner in the Non-Profit category for print ads. 

For questions about the campaign, please send inquiries to tobaccocampaigns@fda.hhs.gov

1 Gates GJ, and Newport F. (2012). Special Report: 3.4% of U.S. Adults Identify as LGBT. Washington, DC: Gallup, Inc.
2 Lee JGL, Griffin GK, and Melvin CL. (2009). Tobacco use among sexual minorities, USA, 1987-2007 (May): a systematic review. Tob Control, Online First.