Anti-Smoking Public Education Campaign

California Department of Health Services / Tobacco Control Section

For 12 years, Young Communications Group, Inc. was the African American agency of record for this norm changing social marketing and public education campaign that educated Californians about the damaging effects of tobacco products. YCG developed and implemented multiple communications and engagement campaigns that motivated the African American community to change behaviors.

Among these campaigns were the award-winning article series, Tobacco: Then and Now that traced the roots of the tobacco industry’s stronghold on the African American community from the 1500s to the 21st century; a community engagement event that stopped the release of a new tobacco product that utilized the iconic X from Malcolm X as its name branding; a campaign that engaged youth in developing their own Rap songs to combat the tobacco industry; the Not in Mama’s Kitchen campaign; and more than 200 media events.

As a result of these efforts, California became the first state to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and beaches and to see a significant decrease in mortality and morbidity rates when compared to rates prior to the campaign’s implementation.