GMMB hired to run antismoking PR in Washington state

OLYMPIA, WA: Washington's state Department of Health has handed a $1.45 million, 21-month PR contract to GMMB to promote the department's tobacco prevention and control program. MWW/Savitt handled PR for the program for the past three years.

OLYMPIA, WA: Washington's state Department of Health has handed a $1.45 million, 21-month PR contract to GMMB to promote the department's tobacco prevention and control program. MWW/Savitt handled PR for the program for the past three years.

"What [GMMB] brings to the table is experience working with tobacco prevention," said Terry Reid, tobacco prevention and control program manager. "They worked on Initiative 773 [in 2001], which increased the tobacco tax by 60 cents. They work with the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. They've got great experience."

Seattle-based GMMB will focus on media relations, helping generate coverage that

will keep "issues surrounding tobacco prevention and control in front of the public," said Reid.

The media campaign will focus on the dangers of second-hand smoke, preventing youth from smoking, and the state's toll-free phone number, which provides advice to help people quit smoking.

GMMB VP Chrissy Russillo said she hopes to have youths talk about the dangers of smoking to their peers, so that it doesn't appear to be another antismoking message coming from the state.

"They've heard that message before," said Russillo. "But it means more if it comes from their peers. And that's the challenge we face - trying to find new ways to keep the message relevant and fresh."

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