Case Studies, Public Relations


The statewide coalition dedicated to strengthening tobacco control laws was facing an uphill battle: a big spike in users, especially vaping; exponential growth in rates of lung cancer and other lung diseases; and new products that appealed to children, such as candy-flavored cigars. Desperate to save lives, the alliance hired GillespieHall to educate and influence the public and lawmakers on tobacco’s dangers.


At GH, we decided to tell real stories (hundreds of them) creating gripping and powerful public service announcements. We flooded print, social media, billboards, radio and television with the message that tobacco kills and quitting heals. We shared the tragedies of families losing loved ones to cancer and heart attacks, and the triumphs of longtime users who finally quit. And we drove home the negative effects of second- and third-hand smoke. As the tobacco industry continued to produce candy-flavored, alluring-wrapped tobacco products, GH created standout ads and coined the motto: Sweet But Dangerous.


The comprehensive and far-reaching two-year campaign succeeded. After years of resistance, Pennsylvania finally banned tobacco use indoors.