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Vital Stories

On World No Tobacco Day, the #IndiaVsTobacco Campaign Pushes for a Smoke-Free Future

Vital Strategies

On World No Tobacco Day 2022, prominent health and fitness icons of India came together to launch an interactive billboard campaign and a fitness challenge for a tobacco-free future, underscoring the link between smoking and secondhand smoke and poor fitness outcomes. The State Health Department of Maharashtra, National Tobacco Control Program, Tata Memorial Centre and the Cancer Patients Aid Association launched the #IndiaVsTobacco campaign in Mumbai, with Vital Strategies as a technical partner.

Deploying billboards in and around public areas in Mumbai, the campaign seeks to engage the public, especially young people, with messages on secondhand smoke exposure and its deadly impact. Depicting tobacco smoke from cigarettes and bidis, the billboards feature a QR code that people can scan to unlock key facts about secondhand smoke.  The billboards were also published as print advertisements in regional newspapers, reaching 1.5 million people via billboard footfalls, and 2.2 million readership via the print ads.

The campaign launch coincided with a panel discussion featuring medical and fitness professionals to amplify the message that tobacco consumption and secondhand smoke exposure impedes fitness goals and overall health and reduces quality of life. Participating in the discussion were: Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Surgeon, Department of Head and Neck Surgery of Tata Memorial Centre; celebrity fitness coach Mustafa Ahmed; fitness entrepreneur and Coach Pankaj Chandila; fitness and wellness Coach Padmavati Iyengar; Founder of Litter Free India, Ripu Daman Bevli; and Kirsten Varela, Founder of Elysium Calisthenics Park

The event was covered on more than 20 national and regional TV channels, as well as print and digital publications, including Lokmat and Sakal, which have total circulation of 600,000 and 722,000 and total readership of 2.25 million and 2.88 million respectively. 

Fitness influencers participating at a panel discussion for a smokefree and tobacco free future

“This year, asthma, heart disease and lung cancer are just some of the ways in which tobacco use and secondhand smoke will kill over 1.22 million Indians,” said Dr. Chaturvedi. “I’m proud to support the #IndiaVsTobacco campaign, that spotlights the oft-overlooked effects of secondhand smoke. It gives me hope that people will notice and take some small steps towards quitting tobacco.”

Kirsten Varela, founder of Elysium Calisthenics Park, promoting the event on his Instagram handle

The panel discussion was followed by a series of fitness challenges presented to the audience, which resulted in a strong digital buzz around the event and greater reach for the campaign hashtag #IndiaVsTobacco. The fitness influencers posted stories, reels and real-time content on their feeds, which was reposted on the #IndiaVsTobacco channels across platforms. The event reached almost a million users, with 967,000 impressions, and engagement of 353,000.