Why RAT® Matters
The mission of The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi is to provide educational information and awareness about the impact of tobacco on Mississippi and to improve the culture of health in Mississippi by applying lessons learned in tobacco prevention to other leading causes of death and disease impacting our State and Nation.
Born out of a commitment to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs included in the state’s 1994 settlement with the tobacco industry, The Partnership has prevailed as a national leader in tobacco prevention. Part of our humble beginnings included the development of interactive educational and training programs for youth and adults, with a focus on long-term behavioral and cultural change. These programs, with some obvious evolution to match the changing tides of effective messaging with our youth, remain steadfast and effective to this day.
Due to collaborative efforts, intensive advocacy training, localized support, and mobilization of a groundswell of youth motivation, more than 140 local smoke-free ordinances (of which 99 include e-cigarettes) and historical statewide legislation have been passed within the past two decades. To date, we have the nation’s only comprehensive K-6th grade tobacco prevention program, Reject All Tobacco (RAT®), that caters to the “Age of Reason,” so that children “teach up” to the adults in their lives. The RAT® program was created for students in grades kindergarten through sixth, encouraging students to “Tell Somebody” about the dangers of tobacco and to take the anti-smoking messages. Since 1999, The Partnership’s youth programs have reached over 1.6 million school children with tobacco prevention.