Enough With The Puff
Adults under 30 years old represent a critical audience for the public health community. Here’s why. They engage in risky behaviors. They lack insurance coverage. They possess a sense of invincibility and are often tempted to smoke when the drink alcohol. And young adults who don’t attend college – we call them straight-to-work young adults – are at particular risk because they often don’t consider themselves real smokers.
Their sporadic use means they don’t believe they have a problem, think they can stop smoking whenever they choose and don’t respond to traditional cessation messages.
The bad news for this group is that the risk of tobacco addiction, no matter how much you do it, is real – and so are the associated health impacts. Just one puff is enough.
SE2’s Enough with The Puff campaign is aimed at “social smokers”. With our project partner InLine Media, we reached them through behaviorally targeted advertising including high-impact digital display; native content on websites popular with young adults (e.g., gaming, fashion, beauty sites); retargeted ads; video; and outreach through social media influencers on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
The ads and content drove young adults to quizzes, and humorous and relatable video and article content that helped them to acknowledge that social smoking is smoking and that any smoking puts them on a dangerous road towards addiction. We also increased campaign awareness through offline events such as our partnership with Westword’s popular Music Showcase.
Beyond the usual digital tactics, we also employed influencer marketing to reach our young adults. Given the fact that this audience is highly distracted, untrusting of traditional paid advertising, and live almost exclusively on social media – we hired nearly five dozen social media influencers from across Colorado. They produced and shared content that told their personal stories about the dangers of even sporadic us and encouraged followers to join them in ending social smoking.
Since the launch of the campaign we have attracted over 250,000 users to the website and over 36,000 engagements with influencer posts. 4,500 of those visitors completed website activities, such as an assessment, that set them down the path of learning more about the slippery slope of tobacco addiction.
The campaign broke new ground for public health communications in Colorado, using emerging approaches that can be applied to a wide range of public health issues.