The campaign will use media relations targeting LGBTQ outlets, online outreach, participation at Pride events, and advertising on public transit in the area to reach the LGBTQ community, which is a "priority population," said Debra Annand, director of health education services for the American Lung Association of the District of Columbia.
"The LGBTQ Community has very high rates of smoking, well above the national average of 20%*," she said. This specific campaign is part of a larger three-year, $10-million program that is funded by tobacco settlement dollars, Annand explained. The overall program ends on September 30, and the partners are in the process of deciding how the LGBTQ-specific aspect will continue after the end-date.
The outreach campaign is led by Mautner Project/The National Lesbian Health Organization and is funded by DC Tobacco-Free Families, a partnership between the ALA of DC, the DC Department of Health, and the American Cancer Society.
LGBTQ-focused PR firm Witeck-Combs Communications oversaw focus groups and research to determine how to best reach the LGBTQ community, and the campaign will focus on informing the public about smoking cessation groups and free resources.
"We wanted to help create a positive conception of a non-smokier identity," said Sara Jaye Sanford, program associate at the Mautner Project. "You can still be yourself, be LGBTQ, and be a non-smoker." The campaign is also on the hunt for an "average Joe" to serve as a spokesperson for the campaign, Sanford added.
"People said they want to see people like them."
*A previous version of this article reported that the national average was 28%. PRWeek regrets the error.