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November: Great American Smokeout (GASO) Media Event Ideas

Sample Media Event Ideas

The following media events ideas can be part of a news conference where coalitions introduce community, school, worksite, and health site tobacco control activities, including new policies or coalition programs. For more details, contact

  • Trash Tobacco
    This event requires an "old fashioned" kind of garbage truck that pushes garbage down from the back. Mock cigarettes can be decorated from large 3-foot paper cardboard tubes, such as empty carpet tubing. With media assembled, community leaders, local elected officials, or other spokespeople toss these “cigarettes” into the garbage truck and lower the apparatus to crush them.
  • Crush the Addiction
    This activity involves a steamroller. Students place several 6-foot-long “cigarettes” in front of the roller. They can use empty carpet tubes or cardboard tubes decorated to look like cigarettes. The goal is for the steamroller to crush the fake cigarettes. Decorate the steamroller with program logos.
  • Ice Tobacco
    This activity can involve the school or community hockey team. The idea is to have hockey players slam pucks into a large ice cigarette sculpture or large mock cardboard box of fake cigarettes to give tobacco the "cold shoulder."
  • Kick Tobacco
    In this activity, a football team from the local high school, college or NFL has its member(s) kick a football into or through a huge mock pack of cigarettes. A variation of this activity is to work with a local fire department to have a fire truck present with a fireman extinguishing a "smoking" huge mock pack of cigarettes, to "Put Out the Addiction."
  • Great American Bubble Gum Blowout
    This media event is a great elementary school activity. The goal is to have a well-known mascot from a local sports team measure the size of the bubbles that kids blow with their sugar-free bubble gum. Large bubbles demonstrate healthy lungs.
  • Cold Turkey
    Advocates can work with local restaurants of the national Subway chain to arrange for an award of a cold turkey sub for every pack of cigarettes that is turned in during the Great American Smokeout (GASO). This activity offers the opportunity to demonstrate a public/private community partnership. Arrangements may also be made for tobacco control spokespersons to appear on local television and radio shows to promote going "cold turkey" the day of the Great American Smokeout. Cold turkey subs could also be offered on school lunch or restaurant menus in local communities.
  • Promoting Smoking Cessation Programs
    GASO is an excellent opportunity to team with providers of smoking cessation programs, especially those targeted to youth, for promotions. All students who smoke should be urged to pledge not to smoke on that day. School-based activities could also incorporate the “buddy system” or “Adopt-A-Smoker,” where smokers who pledge to go smoke-free are teamed with partners who provide support. This activity can be conducted jointly with local American Cancer Society chapters or other organizations that offer cessation programs.
  • Pharmacy Smokeout Challenge
    Work with local pharmacies to secure their promise not to sell tobacco and to provide cessation literature on GASO.
  • Hands Off Tobacco
    In this activity, children put their hands in washable paint and place their handprints on a large banner in the shape of an American flag or the international no-smoking symbol. The end product represents a pledge to stay tobacco-free. Once completed, the banner can be displayed at a school or other prominent community location.
  • Breaking the Chain of Tobacco
    Students rally at the state capitol dressed in prison costumes, including connecting paper chains to symbolize breaking the addiction of tobacco. The chain links can feature the names of community residents who have died from tobacco. Following the ceremony, the chain can be wrapped around the state capitol.