Health Department Launches Tobacco-Free Voices Campaign, Featuring Inspiring Stories from Communities Hit Hardest by Tobacco Use

PHILADELPHIA – As a key strategy of its intensified effort to promote tobacco-free living in communities with the highest rates of tobacco use, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced the launch of a multi-media campaign that features authentic testimonials highlighting real Philadelphians’ recovery from tobacco use. The Tobacco-Free Voices campaign will showcase the individual testimonials of personal recovery for a veteran, trans man, recent mother, individuals in recovery from tobacco use and opioid use disorder, and a bartender. This campaign seeks to inspire members of these communities with a message of hope, that living tobacco-free is safe and achievable, and to counter wider perceptions that certain communities all use tobacco and are not interested in recovering from their tobacco use.

“Smoking contributes to the deaths of thousands of Philadelphians every year,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “Fortunately, we know that when people quit smoking, their bodies begin to heal from the damage that’s been caused. Quitting smoking makes a difference for your health no matter how long you’ve smoked”.

Compared to prior Health Department campaigns, Tobacco-Free Voices takes a novel approach by featuring actual Philadelphians in the campaign assets, and by featuring multiple audiences representing communities with higher rates of tobacco use in the city in the same campaign. The testimonials offer different motivations for participant’s recovery journeys from tobacco use. One testimonial will feature Mike and Valerie from Northeast Philadelphia, who identified combining their recovery from tobacco use with their recovery from opioid use, as “key to my recovery process” and a change in their lives “that gave me a lot of confidence”. Another testimonial focuses on David, a trans man from East Falls, who recovered from their tobacco use “as part of their transition and healing process from surgery”.

The Tobacco-Free Voices campaign will launch in two phases. Phase 1 will run from mid-July to the end of October and will feature testimonials from new moms, people in recovery from substance use disorders, and a worker in the food service and hospitality industry. Phase 2 will run from early September to the end of October and will add additional testimonials from an LGBTQIA+ community members and active-duty members and veterans of the armed forces. The campaign will be seen on TV, radio, billboards, bus shelters, and on signage in select retail locations.

There are several of resources available for Philadelphians trying to recover from their tobacco use. They can call 1-800-Quit-Now for free tobacco treatment medications and counseling or visit smokefreephilly.org. Many public and private insurance plans are also providing coverage for tobacco treatment services, and the city health centers offer individual tobacco treatment to their patients. For free support and more information about the efforts of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and our partners to create healthier tobacco-free communities for all Philadelphians and to get involved visit smokefreephilly.org.

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