Online Program

Tobacco made me: Using personal story-driven media campaigns to promote quitting

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Erica Collins, MS, Tobacco Control Program, Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI
John Patena, MA, Program in Public Health, Brown University, Providence, RI
The tobacco industry spends $10 billion every year to put a positive spin on smoking and recruit new customers. To effectively combat these messages, public health entities conduct counter-marketing media campaigns. In the spring of 2012, CDC launched Tips from Former Smokers, a campaign which utilized personal stories, and doubled calls to the national quitline within the first two weeks of its inception. Given the national campaign's success, the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Program modeled a similar campaign to increase calls to its state quitline. Rhode Islanders were recruited and were asked to share the ways in which tobacco had negatively impacted their lives. Respondents included former smokers, those still struggling with the addiction, victims of secondhand smoke, and people who lost their own health and/or loved ones to tobacco-related illness. Content from videotaped accounts was used to populate the program's cessation website and Facebook page, and to create radio spots and transit and online ads. Two weeks after the start of the campaign, both calls to the state quitline and visits to the program's cessation website doubled from the previous month. Additionally, the campaign's Facebook page became an online community space where Rhode Islanders shared their tobacco-related stories. Media campaigns which include compelling personal stories from local individuals can be utilized to elicit emotional responses and motivate positive behavior change. Few resources are needed to develop such campaigns and content can be easily replicated by other tobacco control programs to create maximum efficacy for relatively low costs.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
Identify key components that make up a successful personal story-based media campaign. Demonstrate how to utilize social media to increase creative content and interaction with the community. Discuss how to maximize limited resources when creating media campaigns.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Media Campaigns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Media and Communications Coordinator for the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Program. I have a Masters in Health Communication and have experience in developing media campaigns.
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.