Statewide Media Campaigns Increase Support for Smoke-Free Air Policies
While significant progress was made in 2007 with the enactment of the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act (which prohibits smoking in most workplaces, excluding stand-alone bars and casinos), bar workers, musicians, and casino employees across Louisiana remain chronically exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke in the workplace.
To increase support for stronger smoke-free policies that protect bar and casino employees from secondhand smoke in the workplace, the LPHI-managed tobacco prevention and control program, The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL), launched the “Let’s Be Totally Clear” media campaign statewide in 2010 and again in 2011. Formative and focus group research pointed to framing the new campaign around the issue of social justice. As a result, TFL created the “Equal Air for All” campaign to guide the development of its 2010 and 2011 media and outreach efforts.
The 2010 media campaign sought to increase general awareness of chronic exposure to secondhand smoke faced by musicians, as well as bar and casino employees. In 2011, to further localize the campaign and engage community partners, TFL conducted a statewide video and photo tour to gather images and stories from bar and casino workers and community members across the state. The faces of the 2011 campaign included real musicians, bar owners, bartenders, elected officials, business owners, members of the media and the community at large. A key branding element of the 2011 media campaign was the asterisk symbol (*), which was used as a creative element to visually illustrate that bartenders and casino workers remain exceptions to the law, leaving them unprotected in the workplace from chronic exposure to secondhand smoke.
Goals of the 2010 and 2011 “Equal Air for All” statewide media campaigns included:
• Increase agreement that no one’s health should be in danger when they go to work
• Increase awareness about secondhand smoke dangers
• Increase awareness that bar/casino workers and musicians remain exposed to secondhand smoke at work
Pre-wave and post-wave ad tracking research found that the 2010 campaign achieved the following:
• Respondents reported that they were 46 percent more likely to support laws or policies that prohibit smoking in gaming establishments following the media campaign.
• Respondents reported that they were 45 percent more likely to support a local ordinance that strengthens or extends the law that prohibits smoking in public.
Pre-wave and post-wave ad tracking research for the 2011 campaign found that:
• Respondents expressed support for core campaign messages
• Most respondents recalled the ads, and many respondents were able to accurately describe them in detail.
In addition to ad tracking research, evidence of the “Equal Air for All” campaign’s impact on behaviors was seen in the number of bars that voluntarily went smoke-free following the campaigns. In New Orleans, the number of smoke-free bars has doubled since 2009. Several bars and dance clubs went smoke-free during the past year in Lafayette, and one of the largest bars in Baton Rouge also recently became smoke-free.
TFL’s statewide media campaigns and outreach efforts have helped Louisiana residents view and understand secondhand smoke exposure as a social justice and worker’s rights issue. Following an increase in statewide support for policies that protect bar and casino employees, the City of Alexandria recently became the first municipality in Louisiana to adopt a 100 percent smoke-free ordinance, a victory that sets the stage for a comprehensive statewide policy in the future.