States Cut Anti-Smoking Efforts

Economic pressures are forcing state health departments to reduce anti-smoking initiatives.

In Massachusetts, “Make smoking history” ads by Boston’s Arnold are being pulled due to budget cuts.

“You will not see TV, radio or print ads for the rest of the fiscal year,” said the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Roseanna Pawelec.

In Florida, where Miami’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky has done “Truth” creative for both state and national anti-smoking initiatives, overall funding has plummeted from more than $60 million in 1998 to less than $30 million this year.

State legislatures are trying to reapportion scarce health services resources. Massachusetts’ situation mirrors that of Arizona, another jurisdiction with an anti-smoking program that pre-dates the Master Settlement between Big Tobacco and most states.

Funding for an anti-smoking campaign by E.B. Lane Marketing Communications in Phoenix has been slashed from $10-15 million in 2000 to $3-5 million at present. Eliminating the media budget altogether remains a possibility.

Marc Boutin, vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society, decried the cuts, maintaining that media advertising is the “No. 1 reason people decide to quit [smoking].”

Other states reducing anti-tobacco advertising budgets include Maine, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and Hawaii.