DoH uses radio waves to put off smokers

LONDON – DJs are the Department of Health's new weapon in the battle against smoking, with 195 local radio stations supporting a five-week 'Big Quit' campaign from tomorrow.

PHD and its content division Drum have negotiated a deal across radio companies GCap Media, Emap, Chrysalis, Premier, First Radio Sales, Saga Radio, Sunrise and Tindle.

The £1m initiative will encourage 36m adults to set a quit date and DJs will work the theme into their shows, with larger stations such as London's Capital Radio and Birmingham's BMRB using their promotional street team to run a smoking amnesty and celebrate "Fag Free Fridays".

The campaign comes on the eve of the vote in the House of Commons tonight that is likely to see a complete ban on smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants.

Ads produced by Emap will drive listeners to The Big Quit website created by GCap, which in turn links to the DoH website Giving Up Smoking.

Listeners will be able to sign up via the Big Quit site for motivational email and SMS messages, and even podcasts featuring experts and famous ex-smokers.

Caroline Flint, public health minister, said: "We want to encourage as many smokers as possible to get involved with The Big Quit, make the most of the support available, both through their local radio and the NHS, and give up smoking for good."

Sharon Hillyer, media manager at PHD, said: "In the face of an increasingly advertising hardened audience it is critical that we identify more relevant ways of communicating with smokers. Getting closer to content is one of the most powerful ways we can connect with an audience."

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