Counter Tools has partnered with Reality Check since 2015 to conduct training sessions for educating youth on tobacco and do advocacy work through rallying at the annual Altria shareholder’s meeting.

Reality Check is a youth-led, adult-supported program based out of New York. Under Reality Check, youth have the opportunity to become leaders in their communities and educate their peers, family, community members, legislators, and decision-makers on the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing practices and tobacco use.

Counter Tools first attended a New York Youth Summit in 2015 and has since partnered with Reality Check yearly to train and support youth in their efforts. The training sessions highlight the industry’s targeting of youth, minorities, and lower-income neighborhoods with point-of-sale tactics such as the selling of flavored tobacco products and highly-visible tobacco advertising.

Besides gaining foundational knowledge, the youth are also trained on advocacy and social justice. Counter Tools has rallied and protested outside the annual Altria shareholder’s meeting alongside the youth and adult leaders.

The annual training and rally is attended by upwards of 100 young people from middle and high school. Along with Reality Check, over the years, other groups have participated such as No Limits Nebraska, Dover Youth to Youth and the Truth Initiative.

This year, as a result of limitations around COVID-19, Counter Tools has worked with Reality Check to prepare a week of virtual training sessions, activities, and social media advocacy. The Altria shareholder’s meeting will be protested virtually and the week will conclude with No Menthol Sunday (created by NAATPN). This week’s title/theme is “Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies Week of Engagement: Seven Deadly Lies” and it will run from May 11th – May 17th, 2020! Find more information about this week at

Read the full success story here.


This is the second story in our new series of Success Stories. Our partners have achieved great successes in public health. We recognize their hard work and leadership in creating healthier communities. We hope these stories inspire your work around place-based public health.

Do you have a success story to share? Reach out at [email protected]!