Ads for promoting quitlines
Q: What are states (especially those with
tight budgets) currently doing on a regular basis to promote
their quit line? Does anyone have a script for a radio ad
(specific to quit lines or tagged with the quit line number)
that they have had success with? Has anyone tried cinema ads
to advertise the quit line? Any advice, or lessons learned
related to promotion?
- California: Mass media promotion is handled
by the CA Dept of Health Services, Tob. Control Section,
but the Helpline itself also employs many grassroots-style
promotional strategies. These efforts are overseen by our
Outreach Coordinator. The types of activities we've tried
over 13+ years are too numerous to describe them all, but
here are the ones that we've used repeatedly and found to
be especially successful. For more information, contact
Kirsten Hansen, our current Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com.
- Thank you letters to referring physicians. When we
were a new quitline, entirely reliant on media advertising,
this was a good way to build a base of referring providers,
especially in rural areas where there are few cessation
resources and physicians tend to spend more time with
their patients. It was a time-consuming activity however,
since callers in general aren't very good at providing
usable contact info for their physicians. We spent a
long time looking up the info after calls and cleaning
up the database of referring physicians. Over time this
was replaced with the next activity.
- Large mailings to members of a particular health care
profession, eg. ObGyns. Some have included letters explaining
the relevance of our services to their patient population,
co-signed by the Helpline and the leader(s) of their
professional association. They've generally included
samples of promotional items that can be given to patients
and a fax order form to obtain additional items at no
cost, and sometimes a poster that can be hung up in
the doctor's office.
- On-the-spot info for providers, educators, and other
professionals who call with questions about the Helpline
before they feel comfortable making referrals. Most
of these calls are handled by outreach specialists rather
than counselors. After answering questions, they usually
send out a packet of info about the Helpline with samples
of promotional items and order forms to obtain more,
and in some cases reprints of research articles or other
- Technical assistance to local organizations to support
the inclusion of cessation messaging and the Helpline
numbers in any materials, presentations, or other outreach
efforts that they may be developing. No one organization
"owns" Helpline promotion. All local organizations
can (and are encouraged to) include the numbers in their
materials. Helpline staff are available for TA on what
we feel works well and what doesn't, but they don't
need our approval. The result is a great diversity of
materials appealing to many different segments of the
tobacco using population. All local lead agencies receive
semiannual reports with a demographic breakdown of calls
from their county.
- Gold Cards. These are plastic cards that look and
feel like a credit card and have a "take charge"
message that plays up the economic reasons for quitting,
along with the Helpline's English numbers (one for smokers
and another for chewers). They were developed for teens
but turned out to have a much broader appeal. Health
care providers like to hand them out. It seems to make
it easier for them to address tobacco use in their patients.
We also have a series of brochures (one for each of
the languages we serve), but these don't seem to be
as appropriate for lower-SES, lower-literacy smokers.
- Partnership activities with other organizations, especially
those addressing priority populations. E.g., we formed
a Community Advisory Board to help inform our outreach
and service delivery for AA/PI communities. Board members
are well-connected in their respective communities and
help to build trust and get the word out. With CA's
leading Hispanic/Latino tobacco control organization
we are jointly developing a Spanish version of the Gold
Card. Their input was invaluable in determining that
the controlling metaphor for this tool needed to be
"gift card" rather than a credit card. We're
also partnering with the CA Diabetes Program on a range
of activities (updated treatment guidelines, joint presentations,
partnered mailings, etc.) to get the word out to smokers
with diabetes. These are just a few of the many active
partnerships we engage it.
- Presentations and exhibits at professional conferences.
- Semi-annual newsletter to providers, other grantees
of the tob. control program, etc.
- Web site, www.nobutts.org,
that includes information both for tobacco users and
for referring providers.
Note that in all of these promotional efforts, we reach
out to tobacco users THROUGH the people who are in a position
to refer them for treatment. On a very limited basis,
we've experimented with direct mail campaigns to Asian-language
speaking households and gotten some encouraging preliminary
Re. radio ads, CDHS/TCS has developed many and I believe
some of them are in CDC's media repository. Colleen Stevens
(copied above) would be the one to talk to re. that.
Re. cinema ads--we did try it,, but it wasn't effective.
It seems there is too much time (and too much else to
think about) between when they see the ad and when they
actually have an opportunity to call.
If you want to know more about our overall thinking about
quitline promotion, pls check out ch. 9 in the CDC's resource
guide, Tel. Quitlines: A Resource for Development, Implementation,
and Eval. which can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quitlines.htm.
- Delaware: When we first started our quitline
promotion we used the "Quitting take Practice"
spot that CA originally did and is now part of the MCRC.
I think many states used that spot. Since then we have developed
our own spots, but they are somewhat specific to Delaware
(names. locations, face-to-face counseling services provided).
We don't have a problem if other states want to use them,
but it may or may not be feasible. For more information,
contact Fred Gatto at 302-739-4724. We have used the movie
slides and it works OK.
- Florida: We have four radio ads that
we have developed two are for adults, one in English and
one in Spanish and two youth ads both in English. Our ads
have our Florida Quitline number in them. We have used the
adult ads with a significant increase in calls to the quitline
with both the English and Spanish. W we have not been able
to use the youth ads yet.
The tobacco program collaborated with the Florida Dept.
of Health’s Infant, Maternal and Reproductive Health
unit to air radio and television ads promoting prenatal
tobacco cessation in conjunction with Florida’s Quit
for Life Line. The campaign targeted messages to mothers
and spouses on the health consequences of prenatal tobacco
use. In addition, local county health department staff and
Healthy Start coalition staff partnered with radio stations
to air the ads at no cost for the remaining month of November.
A 15 second quitline PSA was developed and aired in the
northern part of the state during Christmas and New Year’s.
We have quitline posters, brochures, calling cards and prescription
pads along with letter openers, pens, stress balls, toothpicks
and lip balms with the quitline logo and number on them.
Over 5,000 quitline promotional items printed in English
and Spanish were disseminated to: colleges, churches, county
health departments, hospitals, Healthy Start Coalitions,
Florida Dental Assoc., schools, doctors’ offices,
Hispanic, African American, Cuban, and Native American Associations.
We have partnered with the Florida Medical Association,
Florida Dental Association and the Florida Hospital Association
to promote the quitline to their clients and members through
their newsletters and journals.
The Healthy Start Coalitions are promoting the quitline
to their clients through our partnership with the Maternal
and Child Health program.
The Women, Infant and Children program (WIC) promote the
quitline by disseminating materials to their clients during
visits and they have added the quitline number to several
of the pamphlets and brochures.
Capital Health Plan is promoting the quitline in their newsletter,
to their clients and with their out reach programs.
The program staff has established a dynamic relationship
with the Florida Association of Health Plans, Inc. (FAHP)
that works to develop cooperative relationships between
health plans, providers, government partners, and employer
groups. The FAHP is promoting the quitline to major insurance
companies and has taken lead in setting up individual meetings
for us to meet with several of those companies.
Chronic Disease Health Promotion & Education Program
(CDHPE) representatives from the county health departments
serve as worksite wellness contacts to facilitate the importance
of healthy behavior activities within the county health
department and local businesses with an established Worksite
Wellness program. Worksite Wellness contacts at the county
health departments are promoting the quitline through meetings
and field staff sharing promotional items with their workers
through our partnership with the CDHPE Program.
The diabetes program promotes the quitline through the Diabetes
Advisory Council (DAC) and Florida Alliance for Diabetes
Prevention and Care Partnership. The tobacco program is
working with the Comprehensive Cancer, and the Cardiovascular
programs to promote the quitline.
The quitline fax referral form is being used to promote
the quitline by County Health Departments, Healthy Start
Coalitions and several private doctors through out the state.
Contact Karen Goodson at Karen_Goodson@doh.state.fl.us
for more information.
- Iowa: We just started our first Quitline
ad campaign on January 3 of this year (television only)
so I have no data on their effectiveness yet. However, we
would be glad to share the ads with anyone who wants to
- Missouri: Missouri ran a two-week radio
campaign and placed bus ads in two urban areas for a month
to target lower income tobacco users. Call volume increase
minimally from these efforts. TV PSAs were produced using
the radio spots for the voice over and were released in
November prior to GASO. Our greatest increase in call volume
occurred in the first week the quitline was announced with
a news release that was picked up by most media markets,
and during November when GASO, the PSAs and ABC News generated
free media. We are relying on physician and health care
provider referrals as well.
- North Carolina: The NC Health and Wellness
Trust has funded research that currently is being conducted
by the UNC School of Public Health (Kurt Ribisl) and the
UNC School of Business (Kevin Leibel) to determine how to
communicate with the 18-24 age group on quit lines. We hope
to have some results this spring, and will be happy to share
that when it is available. For more information, contact
Jim Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- North Dakota: We also have a very tight
budget for promotion. We use MCRC TV ads and have recorded
our own radio ads and developed our own print ads. We placed
the radio and print ads on CDs and sent them to all our
local agencies and partners so they can also purchase and
place radio and print ads. Not only do they purchase additional
time or placement, but they may use the print ads in their
professional newsletters and journals, church bulletins,
etc. This has worked well and allowed us to expand our promotion
Lessons learned about promotion: We developed a health care
provider education and outreach component through our school
of medicine and in our first year of operation over 1/3
of our referrals came from health care providers. This was
a great way to engage our health care providers early.
We have used some special NRT promotions and these have
dramatically increased the number of calls to our quitline.
Our first promotion of free NRT was one month in length
as we were preparing for the implementation of our new smoke-free
law. This amount of time was too long--it overhwelmed our
quitline. We are now trying shorter promotions of one-day
or one-week linked to special events.
- Ohio: (response from the state foundation)
the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) is funded by
the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation.
While we do have an adequate Quit Line marketing budget,
we have determined some more less expensive ways to drive
calls. Here are some of the things we've done:
- We've purchased :60 radio spots using a DJ-endorsed
script below, but perhaps a Quit Line can find some
well-loved radio personalities who are passionate about
quitting who would be willing to read these as PSAs?
Radio has consistently been a good driver of calls to
our Quit Line.
- We've also sponsored weather and traffic portions
of radio shows...relatively inexpensive, but memorable
because many people smoke in their cars during am and
pm drive time!
- Cinema advertising might be good...but, as you know,
it is really expensive. If you have rollingstock theaters,
PERHAPS you can talk a chain theater manager to run
a TV ad as a PSA. More likely, though, perhaps a theater
will put up a slide as a PSA for you.
- We are working with all of our community grantees
providing cessation services to have them promote the
Quit Line to their patients and healthcare provider
contacts. They put their grant number on the fax referral
forms so that they get credit for the referral.
- We are doing a great deal of outreach to healthcare
providers across the state. We have a QUIT KIT for docs
and nurses, and we would be happy to send you samples.
We have an Expert Panel of prominent physicians and
nurses across the state to advise us on these activities.
- Certainly, media relations is a great way to drive
calls. Can you connect a recent quitter to a local reporter
to talk about their experiencet? Do you have some new
quit rate data from your Quit Line that you can announce?
Have you reached your blank-thousandth caller? It's
time consuming, but it's free and a great endorsement
of your campaign.
- We also have created a Call It Quits Coalition of
people of all backgrounds and professions who have agreed
to promote and refer people to the Quit Line. Docs,
nurses, employers, March of Dimes, health associations,
- We haven't yet done this, but even sending a mailing
to the top employers in the state with some info about
the Quit Line and template newsletter articles, etc.,
would be really effective, I think.
Contact Beth Scheiber at email@example.com
Ohio Tobacco Quit Line
DJ Endorsed Script
Everybody knows that tobacco is bad for you, right?
Of course—we hear it all the time. So
now the question is…what do you do when you want
to quit tobacco?
Not so easy, is it?
Well, this is __________ from ___________ and I’m
here to tell ya, if you want to quit smoking or smokeless
tobacco, the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line can help.
The Quit Line is a free telephone service that
connects you with a trained Quitting Specialist who
guides and supports you through the quitting process.
You don’t have to do this on your own. But with
a personalized plan from your Quitting Specialist, you’re
5 times more likely to succeed. FIVE times.
Sure, it’ll be tough, but this is the right way
to do it. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and start
quitting. I’ve told all the smokers I know about
the Quit Line and I’m telling you now—these
people understand what you’re going through. They
want to help. And they will help.
So make the call. And make a difference in your life
by getting tobacco out of it.
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and call it
- Texas: We have had tremendous success
with the "Quitting Takes Practice" ad available
from CDC. Every time we run it, there is a spike in Quitline
calls for the area where it is running. They should check
out the CDC's media resource Web page about advertising
on a tight budget at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/mcrc/tbudget.htm.
- West Virginia: Most of West Virginia's
efforts for quit line media have bee larger media campaigns
and statewide billboard and ad campaigns. We do advertise
the quitline through gasoline, grocery and store register
tapes and receipts. We have a program called "We Ask
Because We Care" that places quit info and quit line
info into clinics and provider offices, waiting areas.
- Washington: The best suggestion is for
you to visit www.quitline.com,
our cessation-specific Web site. All of our statewide and
grassroots advertising and promotion sends interested individuals
to this site. There you will also find our latest TV and
The combination of promotions we've been using has been
so successful that we had to greatly increase the budget
for the quit line to handle all of the calls and inquiries.
Therefore we cut out a new statewide cessation ad campaign
- the money went to the quit line, and to a more grassroots
localized attack, so to speak.
Cinema ads? We tried them for the first time last year,
but it was for our Youth Tobacco Prevention ad campaign,
not cessation. I understand from my contractor that they
are VERY expensive.
Contact Scott Schoengarth, Public Awareness and Marketing
Coordinator, for more information at Scott.Schoengarth@DOH.WA.GOV.
- Wyoming: We promote via newspaper ads
throughout the state weekly. See below.
Research in Wyoming has shown that almost no one remembers
the cinema ads or billboards. Radio and TV are the best
venues in Wyoming. We also partner with many statewide
agencies and work with local partners to promote in local
health and social service agencies.
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