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Anti-Tobacco Campaign Evaluation Paper by Sentient Research Accepted in the Journal of Health Communication

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults in the United States have a higher smoking prevalence than their heterosexual counterparts. In 2013, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health launched a 5-month social marketing and outreach campaign called Break Up to reduce smoking prevalence in LGB communities. Break Up included a series of colorful, graphic advertisements with bold statements that a smoker might say to a personified cigarette when ending their relationship. Another key campaign element was an outreach team called the Break Up Squad, which went into the community on 27 evenings and held 12 events at bars. The team took over 4,000 digital photos with LGB persons, which were subsequently emailed to them for sharing on social media.

Sentient Research was hired several months before the campaign launched. For the evaluation, we designed an evaluation survey instrument and conducted two cross-sectional, street intercept surveys - one before the campaign and a second and near the end of campaign. After analyzing the data, we found that 33% of survey participants were aware of the Break Up campaign. Awareness was significantly associated with thinking of quitting smoking and taking steps to quit, but not with quitting smoking. There was a small increase in the percentage of weekly calls by LGB persons to the California smoker's helpline in the year after the campaign. Results of this study were encouraging because they showed that running a campaign for a relatively short time could result in a high level of community awareness as well as precursors to smoking cessation. This study adds to the limited literature on tobacco programs for LGB persons and is one of the first to evaluate tobacco-free social marketing in this important yet understudied population.







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