245120 Smokefree air Mississippi: Using sports marketing to infiltrate and educate on the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roy Hart, MPH, CHES , Office of Tobacco Control, Mississippi State Department of Health, Jackson, MS
Signe Jones, MPH , Center for Mississippi Health Policy, Jackson, MS
Liz Sharlot , Office of Communications, Mississippi State Department of Health, Jackson, MS
Problem/Objective: While the Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control demonstrates widespread support for stronger smoke-free air laws in Mississippi, a lack of education on the current policy and the dangers of secondhand smoke remains problematic. As part of a state-wide publicity campaign to educate Mississippians about the dangers of secondhand smoke, a sports marketing campaign was implemented to reach voters and policy-makers alike. Methods: In February 2010, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH)'s Office of Tobacco Control (OTC) was awarded $2,989,999 under Component II of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant. The initiative's goal is to implement a comprehensive statewide smoke-free air policy by 2012. State funds were used to augment the CDC's CPPW-funded communications activities. One unique aspect of the health communications activities is a sports marketing campaign, designed to capitalize on the popularity of college athletics in Mississippi. The MSDH Office of Communications contracted with a local advertising agency to develop materials targeting all of Mississippi's seven public universities, with unique messages to be disseminated at football, basketball, baseball and softball events during each season. In fall 2010, the initiative focused on collegiate football. Smokefree Air Mississippi was present on radio, television, JumboTron, collegiate sports websites and in the game programs, saturating the target audience with the core message of the campaign: “Everyone deserves to breathe smoke-free air.” Results/Conclusions: Initial data collected indicates that the Smokefree Air Mississippi sports marketing campaign has succeeded in reaching hundreds of thousands of Mississippians.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the elements of the Smokefree Air Mississippi sports marketing campaign. 2) Discuss the methodology used to reach each sector of the target population. 3) Demonstrate potential applications of this model in other health education scenarios.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the director of the Office of Tobacco Control for the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.