Hawaii looks for firm to carry on anti-tobacco work

HONOLULU: The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii is seeking a firm to promote the state's tobacco quit line after Bennet Group Strategic Communications walked away from the account.

HONOLULU: The Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii is seeking a firm to promote the state's tobacco quit line after Bennet Group Strategic Communications walked away from the account.

The 15-month contract will begin in October. It is valued at up to $1.9 million, according to the RFP. The research corporation could extend the contract annually for up to four years with the budget for each additional year reaching $1.6 million. Responses to the RFP are due July 24, with a decision expected by September.

Bennett Group resigned the account “a while ago,” CEO Joan Bennet said.

"For a number of reasons…we have decided to not pursue further work on this account, at least for now. We will do all we can to ensure a smooth transition to the new agency," Bennet said, via email. She added that it is unclear whether the organization decided to release the RFP in response to her firm's departure.  

The Research Corporation did not return a request for comment. 

The Hawaii tobacco quit line is a statewide telephone tobacco-cessation service started in 2005. The scope of work includes promoting the quit line and the dangers of tobacco through mass media. The initiatives will target tobacco users who are ready to quit. The percentage of Hawaii residents who use tobacco declined to 14.5% in 2010 from 21% eight years earlier.

Campaign communications may include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's “why to quit” and “how to quit” themes, which focus on building comfort with the quit lines and dealing practically with how to quit smoking. The corporation also points out that testimonials are an effective way of prompting calls to quit lines.

The CDC recently said it is re-bidding the contract for a multimillion-dollar anti-smoking effort it launched this past spring.

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