Document your movement with video

Our entire mass media campaign for The Cigarette is Dead was created by documenting on-the-ground, grass roots efforts. From building and billboard takeovers, to murals and projections, the raw documentary style footage edited with appropriate music lent to fresh, edgy TV spots and viral video. Still photos were also taken to serve as print ads.

You can pull off the same effect in your community with a hand-held camera following  a “street team” posting banners, posters and stencils. For placement ideas, visit our FlickR and YouTube pages.

Community Implementation Plan

We’ve developed this plan to help you successfully implement The Cigarette is Dead grassroots campaign in your community.

The Cigarette Is Dead Community Implementation Guideline

In fall 2008, STEPP launched the young adult tobacco cessation campaign: The Cigarette Is Dead. The campaign goal was to compel 18- to 29-year-old ‘contemplators’ and ‘pre-contemplators’ who have yet to make a plan to quit with a reason to quit and resources to take the first step. The campaign was a bold statement announcing the demise of the cigarette through both traditional and non-traditional tactics, including posters, sidewalk chalk, projections, murals, banners, television, print and online.

As with any social marketing campaign, The Cigarette is Dead (TCID) needed to be culturally relevant and locally activated. Since its launch, nearly 70 Local Health Agencies and Colorado higher learning institutions ordered materials from to implement the campaign in their communities across Colorado. In March 2009, Weld County Health Department launched a comprehensive campaign in Greeley, Colorado. They have shared their experiences and learnings, and in partnership, we bring this implementation plan with ideas and easy tips to assist you in bringing TCID to your community.

Step 1: Planning

  • Determine what resources you can commit to running TCID in your community. There are plenty of options that you can implement at no cost with just a little staff time, and materials are available to order for free through We have several options, as well, to support your ground efforts through paid media depending on your budget.
  • Determine your timeline for the project, leaving plenty of time to plan and ramp up the campaign. Look ahead to events that may provide an opportunity to reach your young adult population. Keep in mind, the straight-to-work young adult population is more likely to be smokers.
    • As reference, the Weld County Health Department was able to plan and implement this campaign in Greeley in six weeks, working with three full time staff members and an intern.
  • Cactus Communications can help! Brainstorm ideas and let us know your timeframe and budget and we can help your resources go farther. The TCID event team may be available to supplement your efforts and/or have a booth present at any events. Contact Collin Varner, TCID event planner, at

Step 2: Brainstorm Locations

  • This can be a challenging task. Look to any relationships you can leverage with young adults for suggestions. Weld County gained valuable information through a college intern who was able to survey her peers for additional ideas, as well as provide insight on locations for postings.
  • Consider some of the following:
    • The obvious place to start is looking at the university, community college, trade and/or vocational school in your community
    • Next, what businesses employ the straight-to-work young adults in your community? Is it appropriate to reach out directly to the employer to bring materials into the worksite and quit kits into the hands of employees?
    • Look to areas that tend to attract a younger crowd. Areas with a dense number of coffee shops, restaurants, and bars work well. Also, check if there is a music venue in your community.
    • Think about local franchises or privately owned business that may be willing to place materials in all locations.

Step 3: Order Mate Materials rials

  • Once you have determined the locations you want to target, determine what materials will best serve those locations.
  • It takes approximately 3-5 business days for materials to be delivered from the fulfillment site. You can place your order at; username: TCID, password: materials.
  • There is a limit to the number of materials you can order through the password protected site. Cactus can place the full order on your behalf to bypass those limitations. Contact Collin Varner,, for assistance.

Step 4: Contact local businesses and distribute materials

  • Face to face interactions are key to getting the materials into the businesses. You should try to speak directly with the manager in charge and avoid cold calling.
  • Visit businesses off hours, allowing the manager to talk with out him/her worrying about customers.
  • It may be helpful to create a small sample kit to present to the business owners, so they can see the materials and either approve or disapprove on the spot. A campaign description is available through Cactus Communications.
  • Have the materials you would like to post/leave behind with you when you visit businesses. This will both save time, and prevent you from dealing with multiple managers.
  • Privately owned business may be more receptive to having materials place in their locations, as some chain franchises have corporate restrictions preventing them from doing so.

Final tips to consider

  • Use this opportunity to develop relationships with your local business community, and provide outreach to employees who are tobacco users. Bring cessation resources (posters, Quit Kits) and leave them for the manager to place in break rooms.
  • Create a database with your newly established contacts for future use and tobacco outreach, and send thank you letters reminding them of your services, regardless if they allow you to post materials.
  • Document the movement in your community! Take photos and upload them to the Flickr gallery. Post an entry on the blog sharing the experience and offering any tips you may learn. Even add an entry to the timeline to mark the moment you helped declare, The Cigarette Is Dead.

Top 7 places to reach a captive audience


The Cigarette is Dead bathroom ads

1. Bathrooms… Bathroom stalls and urinals at bars, restaurants and coffee shops are an excellent place to communicate with a captive audience. You can also post posters and magnets on towel dispensers, mirrors and the door.

2. Lighters… Each and every time someone lights up, we can ask them to contemplate whether they’re ready to quit doing it. Small The Cigarette is Dead stickers can be used to customize lighters.

3. Ashtrays… Stickers on ashtrays and butt cans are a great reminder for smokers that, not only is their cigarette literally dead, but that the behavior is passe and they need to quit. Consider approaching local businesses about putting The Cigarette is Dead ashtrays and butt cans outside their place of business for both customers and employees.

4. High-traffic walkways… The more people that walk or drive by, the more that will see your message. ‘Nuf said.

5. Break areas… Whether young adults attend college or head straight to work from high school, chances are they hold a job of some sort from the age of 18 to 24. Part-time or full-time, breaks are coveted opportunities to talk, relax, and often, smoke with co-workers. Adorn the outside smoking break area with a smoking can and lighters plastered with The Cigarette is Dead stickers.

6. College campuses… The Cigarette is Dead street team visits campuses around the state and is available to partner with you on additional student outreach and awareness efforts. For more details, email

10. Anywhere that 18 to 24 year-olds hang out… consider local watering holes, restaurants, theatres and businesses frequented by young adults. Urban neighborhoods and college campuses are no-brainers, but think outside the box to find other hot spots like tattoo parlors, salons and thrift stores.

You aren’t alone, you have an entire army of support

The Cigarette is Dead street team on campus

The Cigarette is Dead street team on campus

Er, okay, it’s more of a street team for support.

The Quit Doing It street team is scheduled to be at The University of Denver May 18-22 and is available to help spread The Cigarette is Dead movement in communities around the state. The street team will work with schools and county health departments to help spread the word by posting banners and posters at pre-determined locations, leaving The Cigarette is Dead branded lighters and coasters at bars and restaurants, and spraying chalk stencils on pre-approved sidewalk locations.

The street team is also available to meet with tobacco coalition groups, public tobacco forums and student groups to explain The Cigarette is Dead’s purpose and goals. If you would like more information about the street team’s community outreach and availability, please contact Collin Varner at

7 quick tips for leveraging community partnerships

As demonstrated by Weld County, forming partnerships with local businesses can be a great way to distribute The Cigarette is Dead materials for high-impact and little cost.

Charged with building relationships with proceeds recipients and businesses across the state, Matt Robbins, community relations specialist for the Colorado Lottery, shared 7 quick tips for forming fruitful community partnerships.

1. When ever possible, meet in person. Don’t rely on technology, just like you, everyone is getting inundated with email and cold calls.

2. Know your audience. Do a little research before you meet with them so you know what they’re business is all about.

3. Don’t assume they understand what you do.

4. Take the time to ask what your partners do and what they need. You might be surprised  to find out what you have in common.

5. After meeting with someone, don’t be afraid to share their experiences and stories with others. Understand that not every meeting  or relationship will bare low hanging fruit. Keep in mind that time are tough right now so different partners will have different capacity to support your cause. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

6. Be flexible.

7. Be available.

Posting poster pointers

You can probably download, print and post The Cigarette is Dead posters in your community faster than you can repeat that headline five times.

The Cigarette is Dead poster series in Denver

The Cigarette is Dead poster series in Denver

First, check out our list of downloadable materials and select what you’d like to print yourself – or – visit to order free, pre-printed posters.

Posters pattern on cement

Posters pattern on cement

Next, you need to decide where to post them – fences, walls, storefronts, dumpsters, bus shelters, etc. The variety of posters can be posted solo or in groupings to give an underground feel. For some inspiration, check out what other communities have done on our Flickr page.

Next, make sure you seek the verbal or written permission of the proper authorities or business owners before placing posters onto any public or private spaces.

Poster series on walkway

Poster series on walkway

Finally, you’re almost in business. Hit the streets and start posting posters. If you’re posting more than one poster:
•Take a look at the space and estimate how many posters you will be able to post.
•Is there opportunity to stack vertically, or is the space limited to posting horizontally?
•Create a pattern. If you can get a good pattern going, break it with a different color poster that really jumps out. Always be sure to include a poster with the URL in any arrangement.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it, my posting poster pointer peeps?

Weld County lights up The Cigarette is Dead

Innovative use of free materials to reach a captive audience

Innovative use of free materials to reach a captive audience

Great way to demonstrate that the cigarette is kickin' the bucket

Great way to demonstrate that the cigarette is kickin' the bucket

In Greeley, the movement is spreading like wildfire. Weld County Health Department isn’t just posting flyers either. They’re energizing local businesses to help spread the movement in fresh ways. From pizza boxes and coasters, to bathroom stalls and smoking cans, Weld County has really made The Cigarette is Dead their own localized rallying cry against the cigarette.

The Cigarette is Dead billboard in Greeley

The Cigarette is Dead billboard in Greeley

To mobilize the campaign, the Weld County team has been working with a billboard company, local businesses (including Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Starbucks, to name a few), University of Northern Colorado, Aims Community College and others. They sent press releases to secure local media coverage and worked with their tobacco-free coalition to get the word out.

Check out more photos from Weld County on our Flickr page.