Indiana Black Expo unveils powerful tobacco cessation program

INDIANAPOLIS – Featuring a series of three 30-second commercials – each profiling an African-American family devastated by tobacco use – officials representing Indiana Black Expo (IBE) today unveiled its second tobacco cessation campaign, the purpose of which is to educate and inform African American adults and youth about the dangers associated with tobacco use.

Entitled “Matters of the Heart”, the powerfully poignant and informative campaign features three personal stories, each told in their own words about the devastating impact tobacco has had on themselves and their loved ones.

“The Matters of the Heart campaign is intended to show in a very real way how smoking and tobacco use doesn’t just effect the person who is using tobacco, but that it strikes at the heart of the health and well-being of everyone in the home and the family…diabetes, suffering a stroke or heart attack and what is caused by secondhand smoke,” said Veronica Ford at Indiana Black Expo.

Beginning Sept. 18th through Oct. 4th, the commercials will be featured as part of an advertising and digital marketing communications strategy focused on encouraging African American adults living in Indiana to contact the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, toll-free, at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Open to Hoosiers 13 years and older, the quitline is free and you will be connected to a trained Quit Coach, who will assist you in your efforts to stop using tobacco.

For information regarding the campaign, including an opportunity to view the commercials and extended-length videos featuring more of the story behind the three families, visit:

Among the stories included in the campaign, there is the story of:

  • Latonya, who started smoking as a teenager. Her mom, dad and brother all smoked, too. And, because of her long-term tobacco use, she has since been diagnosed with diabetes. She wanted her life back, made the decision to quit smoking, and today is living an active life with her family.
  • Yulanda, whose husband once said that, “…he wasn’t going to stop smoking because you have to die of something.” Sadly, he was right, after suffering a fatal stroke as a result of his tobacco use. Despite their tremendous loss, they are putting their lives back together and sharing their story with others.
  • Derek, who is struggling to quit smoking…but keeps trying. He knows the secondhand smoke adversely affects his family, including his children. A former singer, he wants his son to grow up just like him, except that he doesn’t want him to smoke or use tobacco. Growing up, Derek remembers his father – who has since passed away – smoking a pipe and his mother on an oxygen tank. She was able to quit smoking and, now, she is challenging and supporting Derek as he works to quit.

The campaign will take center stage in the week leading up to the 32nd annual Circle City Classic football game – set for Saturday Sept. 26th at 3 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium. As part of the pregame activities and during the game, the campaign’s important message will be shared with the thousands of people expected for the game.

According to Ford, the “Matters of the Heart” campaign will also help deliver some important key health facts, including:

  • Smoking causes Type 2 diabetes and affects your insulin dosing;
  • During 2011-12, seven out of every 10 African-American children ages 3 to 11 in the U.S. were exposed to secondhand smoke regularly;
  • The risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for African Americans as whites, and African Americans are more likely to die following a stroke as whites;

“We appreciate very much that Latonya, Yulanda and Derek have stepped forward and chosen to share with all of us their stories. And, we hope their decision will help others pick up the phone, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and make an effort to take on what we know is a difficult challenge, but it’s something that we know can change their lives and that of their families…it truly is a matter of the heart,” explained Tanya Bell, president-CEO, Indiana Black Expo.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at

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