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Vital Strategies launches multi-language resource to support the fight against the tobacco epidemic

(May 31, 2017, New York, USA) – Vital Strategies today announced the launch of a new resource – Media Beacon – to support the fight against the global tobacco epidemic. Media Beacon is an online resource of tested and proven, best practice tobacco control graphic warning images (in four languages) and campaign materials (in eight languages) designed to support health objectives. Many of these campaigns are free to license and simple to adapt, enabling governments to rapidly and cost-effectively implement graphic warnings and mass media campaigns to support health policy.

On World No Tobacco Day, Vital Strategies also celebrates the launch and implementation of mass and social media tobacco control campaigns in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam. To date, more than 2 billion people are estimated to have viewed campaigns designed and implemented with support from Vital Strategies.

José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Vital Strategies commented:

“Healthy, active citizens are critical to every country’s development and economic growth. Graphic health warnings on tobacco packs and effective, population-level tobacco control communication campaigns using mass and social media can help support policy and behaviour change. Vital Strategies is proud to have played our part in helping governments and civil society around the world in this important work – supporting countries as they work towards fulfilling their obligations under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Further progress on tobacco taxes over the next year would help to deter more people, especially youth, from initiating tobacco use and encourage more people to quit. Once again, we stand ready to help governments build support for tobacco taxes and other tobacco control policies, to help make much-needed reductions in smoking prevalence and related disease a reality.”

Media Beacon

Media Beacon contains 92 images for anti-tobacco graphic health warnings, which can be used for tobacco packaging, available in Chinese, English, French and Spanish. There are over 60 tobacco control public service announcements (PSAs) available in library that can be navigated in Arabic, Bahasa, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Russian and Spanish. In addition to tobacco control messages, Media Beacon also hosts a small library of best practice campaigns targeted at obesity prevention and road safety.

The resource includes three newly created anti-tobacco campaigns for use in low and middle income countries. Designed as a one-stop, comprehensive “Campaign in a Box”, each campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor and digital components, and implementation support and evaluation tools. The campaigns are racially and culturally agnostic, so they can be adapted for use anywhere in Asia, Africa or Europe, simply by changing the voiceover and titles – delivering a truly time and cost-efficient solution for resource-constrained governments and civil society organizations.

Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies said: “We are really excited to be leveraging our deep expertise in health policy advocacy and communication with the launch of Media Beacon, which further advances our mission and has the potential to make a significant difference in low and middle income countries. Graphic, emotionally engaging anti-tobacco campaigns are proven to increase awareness, change attitudes and prompt behavior change. They are especially critical in countries with high levels of tobacco use and lower levels of education and literacy, which often lack the resources to develop best-practice campaigns. Media Beacon will help bridge gaps in capacity and reduce the health and economic harms of tobacco use.”

Assisting mass and social media campaigns in multiple countries

Vital Strategies has provided technical assistance and other forms of support for social and mass media tobacco control campaigns currently running or being launched to coincide with World No Tobacco Day in cities and countries around the world:

  • In China, a victim of tobacco-related heart disease, who features in a PSA, will feature on a special World No Tobacco Day program on Beijing TV
  • In Shanghai, China, mass media campaigns are running to support the city’s implementation of comprehensive smokefree laws
  • In Xiamen, China, launching on World No Tobacco Day, an adaptation of the “Smokefree Restaurant” PSA is being aired on local TV channels and on LED screens in local hospitals to build support for a city-wide smokefree law
  • In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a new mass media campaign, “TB-Cough” to highlight that smokers and people exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarettes and bidis are at greater risk of TB and dying from TB. The PSA urges smokers with a persistent cough to visit the doctor
  • In Indonesia, a national campaign warns people about the harms of tobacco use and secondhand smoke, encouraging smokers to consider quitting and call a new national quitline. The quitline is promoted via two PSAs – Tobacco Kills Dreams and Panjaitan and the #SuaraTanpaRokok social media campaign and quit page at
  • In Bogor city, Indonesia, a campaign to increase compliance with the city’s smokefree laws includes a wall mural art festival and 16 angkots (public transport vehicles) decorated with colorful, graphic anti-tobacco stickers
  • In Pakistan, a billboard of the “Sponge” ad, which shows how much tar collects in a smoker’s lungs, has been placed on the facade of a hospital in Rawalpindi. This is a pilot initiative for the rollout of more than 80 similar signs to appear on hospitals and health centers across seven key cities around the country
  • In the Philippines, a social media campaign entitled “They Lie We Die” is increasing awareness of tobacco’s harms and the tobacco industry’s tactics to target youth and prevent the implementation of policies to protect health
  • In Vietnam, the Vietnam Public Health Association is running a national competition via its social media project and Vn0khoithuoc (Smokefree Vietnam) Facebook Fanpage, to engage young people in supporting the implementation of smokefree laws
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, the “Smokefree Restaurant” and “Invisible Killer- Office” PSAs are being broadcast on Ho Chi Minh City television to support the implementation of smokefree regulations
  • In Ukraine, a national mass and social media campaign entitled The tobacco industry targets our kids aims to build support for a law banning tobacco advertising at the point of sale, and also calls for a ban on flavored cigarettes that encourage youth smoking.

Research has shown that mass media campaigns and graphic health warnings on tobacco packs are one of the most effective means to prompt people to stop smoking. They are one of the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. M-P-O-W-E-R strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which Vital Strategies is a principal partner.

Vital Strategies-supported campaign PSAs and stills and transcripts from the PSAs are available upon request.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.