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(A Program of the Division of Addiction Services)
Prevention Services Unit

Strategic Plan For A Comprehensive
Tobacco Control Program

Youth Tobacco Awareness /
Marketing And Communications Campaign



    1. General:

      In order to combat the effects of the tobacco industry's successful marketing campaigns targeting youth, a comprehensive awareness/marketing and communications campaign is required to reduce the likelihood of youth initiation or regular use of tobacco. The campaign focus will be on youth through the age of 24. The campaign will include youth through age 24 as a target group, because the number of smokers between ages 18 and 24 appears to be increasing. In addition, youth tend to emulate their older friends and siblings who smoke. While the campaign will target youth and young adults, its messages will also reach the adult community of parents, educators, and policy and opinion makers.

      Studies have found that messages relating to ETS and industry manipulation are highly effective strategies to denormalize smoking and to reduce consumption. These messages work well for both youth and adults.31

      A marketing and communications campaign has the opportunity to support all five goals of a comprehensive tobacco program as well as the following objectives :

      Goal 1:  To decrease acceptability of tobacco use
    2. Increase awareness of negative effects of smoking in community and personal settings
    3. Goal 2:  To decrease youth initiation of tobacco
    4. Increase awareness and knowledge of the negative aspects of tobacco and tobacco industry manipulation through strategic marketing that targets youth through age 24
    5. Goal 3:  To increase the number of users who initiate treatment
    6. Increase awareness of the availability of nicotine treatment programs
    7. Goal 4:  To reduce exposure to ETS
    8. Increase awareness of the harmful effects of smoking in community and personal settings
    9. Goal 5: To reduce disparities related to tobacco use and its effects among different population groups
    10. Increase knowledge of minority populations that they are the targets of tobacco marketing
    11. A marketing and communications campaign allows New Jersey to provide a broad message to its communities. The decision to start to smoke by adolescents is one of a series of life decisions which are made during the pre-teen and teenage years. At this stage of life youth may choose to use legal and illegal drugs, drop out of school, or use violence to resolve conflicts. The advisability of expanding the media campaign to include communication skills and life skills will be explored with both the New Jersey Tobacco Control Advisory Committee and the media contractor. Further, this campaign will use an anti-tobacco message as an opportunity to encourage communication and collaboration between youth and their parents and other adults on important life issues.

    12. Current Programs in New Jersey:

      DHSS has dedicated a one time, $1.5 million allocation of federal funds for a two year, anti-tobacco media and public relations campaign focusing on middle school youth. The multi-media "Don't Get Sucked In" campaign includes television and radio ads, in- theater placements, billboards, print ads, and a website. This campaign focuses on the short term effects of smoking and the implication that smoking is disgusting. The process evaluation of the campaign has shown that this message has reached over 2.7 million teens in New Jersey and surrounding states through the radio ads alone, and it has also reached many more adults and children. This campaign will end on December 31, 1999.

    13. Other States and Best Practices

      This section outlines other states' approaches to this program component and best practices:

      • The significant anti-tobacco advertising campaigns of California, Massachusetts, and Florida have been associated with the decline in consumption in these states. Research has shown that their focus on industry manipulation and ETS is effective at reducing consumption. At least one study has indicated that the message of negative health consequences of smoking may also be effective.

      • Studies in California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Minnesota have shown that a counter-marketing campaign is most effective when it is combined with school and community activities which also address tobacco issues.32,33,34,35

      • Marketing firm(s) working on statewide anti-tobacco campaigns will be required to have no business or association with tobacco companies or their subsidiaries.

      • The following CDC guidelines will be used to develop the key elements of a comprehensive marketing program. The campaign should:36

        1. Have sufficient reach, frequency, and duration;
        2. Focus on youth and adults;
        3. Address individual behavior and community-wide policies;
        4. Partner with other types of organizations;
        5. Highlight an individual theme without preaching;
        6. Use several messages and styles*; and,
        7. Combine prevention, treatment and ETS messages.*

        Please note: there is not uniform agreement/consensus among the experts over the recommendations to combine messages and styles.


    This section outlines the proposed approach to implementing the Youth Tobacco Awareness / Marketing and Communications component of the overall plan, including selecting the target populations, establishing basic principles, and creating opportunities for public/private partnerships.

    1. Target Populations:

      The media campaign will be expected to target pre- adolescent youth (ages 6-11), adolescent youth (ages 12- 17), and young adults (ages 18-24). Given the limited resources for a media campaign, the messages will first be directed at adolescent youth and then expanded over time to other populations.

    2. Basic Principles

      As the program begins to develop, it is important to incorporate key principles into the selection of a firm to develop and implement the campaign and the campaign itself:

      1. Marketing firm will have no association with the tobacco industry over a number of years.
      2. Marketing firm or sub-contractors will have previous success in reaching a culturally diverse population, in addition to youth through age 24.
      3. A minimum level of billings to assure capacity will be required.
      4. Firm will have a capacity to measure campaign's impact on change in knowledge and attitudes.
      5. The campaign will be a youth focused media campaign with special attention given to minority youth.
      6. The campaign will address issues of industry manipulation by the tobacco companies.
      7. The campaign will have real involvement by youth, not token involvement.
      8. Firms should have the ability to incorporate all goals in the campaign.
      9. The campaign will use existing media material whenever appropriate.

    3. Opportunities for Public/Private Partnerships

      An effective marketing and communications campaign needs to be reinforced throughout the community. Some partnerships which may be appropriate include the following:

      1. Media outlets -- i.e. newspaper special sections, children's publications, outdoor advertising;
      2. Sports teams, both adult professional and youth teams;
      3. Personalities including musicians, actors and well-known business people;
      4. Schools;
      5. Universities, community colleges, trade schools; and,
      6. Businesses where youth congregate.

This document may only be reproduced in its entirety. No portion of this document may be reproduced without the permission of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

1999 New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

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