Kentucky has one of the highest smoking rates in the country, exacerbating its poor health outcomes and rising health care costs. To address this public health crisis, the Kentucky chapter of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) spearheaded “Kick It, Kentucky!”—a week-long campaign to promote the benefits of tobacco cessation and the tools available to help Kentuckians quit. 26 leading health organizations, including the American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Kentucky Cancer Consortium, Kentucky Medical Association, March of Dimes, QuitNow KY, Owensboro Health, St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare and the University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health, joined the effort alongside ACS CAN.
RunSwitch worked with ACS CAN to develop a comprehensive media strategy to ensure coverage of the Kick It, Kentucky campaign and increase awareness of cessation resources throughout the state. We developed and distributed a variety of materials, including an opinion-editorial, media advisory and press release, and produced a social media toolkit to share with partner organizations. We also coordinated a press conference at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Lexington, inviting speakers to participate, creating a run of show, securing a proclamation from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, developing talking points for speakers and driving media attendance and coverage. To generate engagement on social media, RunSwitch assisted ACS CAN in planning, promoting and executing a Twitter Q&A with a group of expert tobacco cessation panelists.
The press event was broadly attended by prominent health care advocates, public officials and media. Print, television and radio outlets covered the event and overall campaign, resulting in 15 stories highlighting ACS CAN’s efforts to reduce tobacco use in the Commonwealth. During the week of the campaign, social media posts from ACS CAN, partners and media generated 10,000 impressions, and the #KickItKY hashtag received 288 mentions from 49 different users. Our efforts positioned ACS CAN as a leading voice for tobacco cessation and better health outcomes for all Kentuckians. We also helped increase awareness of the many tools and resources available to help Kentuckians kick the habit.