sentient logo
Who we are What we do Our work Publications News Contact

CASE STUDY: Break Up Social Marketing Campaign Evaluation
Program Evaluation / 2013-2014

  Project U

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults in the United States often have a higher smoking prevalence than their heterosexual counterparts. In 2013, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health launched a social marketing and outreach campaign called Break Up to reduce smoking prevalence in LGB communities. Break Up included a series of colorful, graphic advertisements with bold statements that a smoker might say to a personified cigarette when ending their relationship. This statement was followed by a message outlining the desired behavior change, “It’s time to break up with tobacco,” the phone number for the California Smokers’ Helpline, and the campaign website. Ads were designed to be eye-catching and humorous to engage the target audience and to encourage sharing the campaign by word-of-mouth and through social media. Another key campaign element was an outreach team called the Break Up Squad, which went into the community 27 evenings and held 12 events at bars.

Sentient Research was hired to evaluate the social marketing campaign. Specifically, we created the evaluation plan and survey instruments, conducted street intercept interviews, analyzed data, and wrote a manuscript for publication. Break Up was evaluated using cross-sectional, street intercept surveys before and near the end of campaign. Surveys measured demographics, campaign awareness, and self-reported smoking-related outcomes. We interviewed 1,005 people for the pre survey and 510 people for the post survey and analyzed the data to identify whether campaign awareness was associated with smoking-related outcomes. Calls by LGB persons to the California smokers’ helpline were also measured. Among those interviewed in the post survey, 32.7% reported awareness of the Break Up campaign. Awareness was associated with thinking of quitting smoking and ever taking steps to quit, but not with smoking cessation. There was a 0.7% increase in the percentage of weekly calls by LGB persons to the helpline in the year after the campaign. This study adds to the limited literature on tobacco programs for LGB persons and, as far as we know, is the first to evaluate tobacco-free social marketing in this important yet understudied population.




  231 North Walnuthaven Drive
West Covina, CA 91790
Tel: 213.864.8959
Fax: 866.614.6075