Texas Rates Anti-Tobacco Forces

The Texas Department of Health is evaluating six in-state agencies for a $4-5 million anti-smoking campaign.
Competing for the business are Tuerff-Davis EnviroMedia, Sherry Matthews Advertising and r.j. kolar, all in Austin, Inventiva of San Antonio, AB Graphics in Athens and Artworks Advertising of Killeen.
All of the participating agencies qualify as small, minority- or women-owned businesses, although the contract is not restricted to such. According to the request for proposal, however, 33 percent of the campaign’s funds will be used to target minority groups.
The funds for the campaign derive from the state’s $17 billion settlement against major tobacco companies.
The government contract is for a one-year period, with an optional year extension to August 2002. The Texas legislature, which is responsible for disbursing funds from the settlement, has chosen to treat the campaign as a pilot project targeting Houston and East Texas before committing to a longer term program.
The review is being jointly managed in Austin by Diana Satterwhite, director of the Office of Tobacco Prevention and Control at the Department of Health, and director of advertising Marcus Cooper.
In contrast to some recent state contracts, the review process for the anti-smoking initiative has moved quickly. Bids were due the first week of June and final presentations will be heard Thursday and Friday of this week.
The state agency expects to make a final decision in July.