Background: Dear Me New Hampshire (DMNH) is an emotionally compelling social marketing campaign designed to increase quit attempts among unemployed and lower wage earnings adults (age 18-55) that use tobacco products. The campaign encourages tobacco users to contact the services of the NH Tobacco Helpline (Helpline) for evidence-based cessation services. The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), utilized data from the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, to identify appropriate sub-populations of NH residents as the DMNH target audience.
Program background: The DMNH campaign was based on the Dear Me campaign developed by the Washington State Department of Health. DMNH adopted and expanded elements to include a contest which challenged NH residents to make videos with reasons for wanting to quit tobacco. Two videos were selected to be developed into commercials. DMNH was tested for target audience receptivity. Primary behavioral theories utilized in the campaign were: Transtheoretical Model, Social Cognitive Theory and Social Norms Theory.
Evaluation Methods and Results: The DMNH campaign period was 12/1/2013 – 3/28/2014. It was necessary to select a period of eight months (10/1/2012 – 5/31/2013) for a comparison group in order to compare the same number of Helpline callers; a period of time which had no state media campaign or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) offer. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the impact of the DMNH 2013/2014 media campaign on (1) the volume of client contacts to the NH Tobacco Helpline, and (2) on client tobacco quit status seven-months after receiving tobacco treatment services. This report and the calculations used are not intended to serve as scientific research but rather to provide an assessment of the value of the campaign. During the campaign period, the Helpline saw an overall increase in call volume of 60.5%, and a 527% increase during the campaign’s peak week. Callers during DMNH were more likely to attempt quitting than callers during the comparison period (83% vs. 79%). Individuals using NRT during DMNH had a higher rate of quit attempts than during the comparison period (85% vs. 77).
Conclusions: Results suggest the use of NRT helps individuals quit and hold onto their success. Further, this emotionally compelling campaign that promotes resources coupled with access to NRT is an effective strategy to maximize quit rates. Both males and females who contacted the Helpline quit at a higher rate (57% males, 58% females) compared the comparison period (36% males, 47% females).
Implications for research and/or practice: DMNH can be considered a successful social marketing campaign based on the results of increased contact to the Helpline during the campaign period, and consequently, increased quit attempts among the targeted audience. The advertisements increased call volume to the Helpline by NH residents disproportionately affected by tobacco use. The cost of the campaign translates to approximately 23 cents per adult smoker. This shows evidence that targeted, multi-media campaigns are an effective method to drive the tobacco users that want to quit to evidence-based treatment resources. This campaign could be replicated or adapted for other populations.