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Mass Media Toolkit for Tobacco Control in Latin America

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

Mexico City, Mexico, December 4, 2009) – World Lung Foundation (WLF) and Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (INSP) today announced an Internet-based resourcefor developing rigorous mass media tobacco control campaigns.  The website details a six-step process to help governments and non-governmental organizations manage every step of a campaign, including formative research, production, message pre-testing, media planning and buying and campaign evaluation.

The Latin America Tobacco Control Campaign Toolkit includes twelve advertisements that have been rigorously pre-tested in Mexico as part of the Bloomberg Initiative To Reduce Tobacco Use.  Governments and NGOs can use the website to request licenses to adapt the ads and to request technical assistance from WLF's team of mass media professionals.   The website was modeled on WLF's Mass Media Resource, a global bank of ads that have been selected for their effectiveness by a panel of experts in tobacco control communications

Ads on the website are categorized based on where they fit on a phased timeline related to the implementation of smoke-free jurisdictions, which is currently one of the most active policy areas in Latin American tobacco control:

Phase 1:  Graphic ads that show the harmful effects of smoking and of second-hand smoke can help raise awareness of the need for smoke-free areas to protect people from harmful toxins.  These ads can also have a direct effect on smokers, encouraging them to quit.

Phase 2: Ads in the second phase are more factual and seek to inform the general public and businesses that a law or regulation is coming into effect and that they should prepare. These ads can reinforce the purpose of the law and provide details of how to comply.

Phase 3: Ads in the third phase occur directly after a law has passed and can be positive in their tone. The purpose of such campaigns is to promote compliance and sustain public support for government policies.  
Phase 4: The fourth phase of ads seeks to teach the public something new about the harms of smoking. Such ads, which should be graphic and illicit negative emotions, help to promote cessation.

“A growing body of research proves that graphic advertisements showing the harms of tobacco on smokers and non-smokers can facilitate quit attempts and promote support and compliance with tobacco control policies,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President of Communications, World Lung Foundation. “Making available ads that have already been tested in Mexico will save governments and NGOs across Latin America save time and money in getting this life-saving intervention applied in the region.”

“A more scientific approach to tobacco control mass media is needed in Latin America, where too often time and money are spent producing campaigns that do not work,” said James Thrasher, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica. “We are pleased to be working with World Lung Foundation to help facilitate dissemination of these rigorously tested campaigns.”

Mass Media campaigns are one of the World Health Organization's M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.

The Latin America Resource for Tobacco Control Mass Media Campaigns was developed by World Lung Foundation and will be hosted and maintained in the Tobacco Control Section of the INSP website.