Arkansas hunting for shop to oversee anti-smoking effort

LITTLE ROCK, AR: The Arkansas Department of Health is seeking a firm to coordinate media, health communications, and public education activities for its Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program.

LITTLE ROCK, AR: The Arkansas Department of Health is seeking a firm to coordinate media, health communications, and public education activities for its Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. The initiative has a budget of $1.3 million.

The winning firm will be tasked with creating a campaign to educate adults and youth about tobacco prevention and cessation, encouraging them to quit or never start using tobacco. RFPs are due Jan. 20, 2012, and selection is expected to take place by February 24, according to the RFP.

Work on the account will begin July 1. The winning firm will have a year-long contract, with a renewal option for an additional six years.

Since its inception in 2002, the state's Stamp Out Smoking program has developed advertising programs using a mix of paid media, sponsorships, PR, and grassroots outreach to inform the public about the effects of tobacco use, the RFP said.

Agency Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods has been the program's AOR for the past seven years. The state has had a “mutually satisfying relationship” with the firm, said Ed Barham, public information officer at the Arkansas Department of Health. He added that there are 100,000 fewer smokers in the state than there were a decade ago.

However, Barham said despite the firm's work, the contract will go to the agency with the best proposals.

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods did not return requests seeking comment.

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