Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Advertising Features NBA Star!


The Minority Initiative of Stamp Out Smoking will launch this year’s public education efforts with new television and radio advertising featuring former Razorback and current Chicago Bulls player, Ronnie Brewer.

Entitled I Can’t Imagine, the TV/radio advertisements highlight Ronnie in the element that has deemed him a star - basketball. Leveraging this star power and appeal to the Minority Initiative of Stamp Out Smoking’s target audience (African American males, ages 18+), the TV/radio advertisements feature Ronnie reminiscing on the path he has taken to pave his career while underscoring how life may be totally different had he chosen to smoke.



“It was indeed a pleasure to work with Ronnie for this creative initiative,” stated Toni McCastle, Media Liaison for MISRGO and the Addiction Studies Program. “With our charge to create healthier lives in our state by sharing the life-saving benefits of tobacco cessation and encouraging minority populations to quit tobacco use, we could not have chosen a better advocate to carry this message.”

The new ads are scheduled to air in October and will run through June 2012. Click here to view photos from our exciting creative shoot with Ronnie.  Be on the lookout for the advertisements and we welcome your feedback!

Highlights from 1st Quarter 2011 – 2012

We have definitely kicked off the 1st quarter with a bang! One of our grantees, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA), began this fiscal year by acknowledging the institution of the new second-hand smoke law, Act 811, and the fifth anniversary of Acts 8 and 13. July 27th, CTFA successfully executed a press conference at the State Capitol Rotunda that garnered significant media coverage and support from anti-tobacco advocates across the State of Arkansas. Take a look at this link to review footage of the press conference.


Congratulations to the State of Arkansas for continuing its efforts to secure healthier futures for our valued youth!

Your MISRGO team has been busy advocating tobacco-free lives via a series of community-outreach events. Most recently, we participated in:
  • UAPB Arkansas Classic Golf Tournament – September 2nd 
Toni McCastle, UAPB/SOS Media Liaison
and Chancellor Davis stand proud on the course
Toni McCastle, UAPB/SOS Media Liaison
and our golf team prep for tournament

  • Delta Classic for Literacy “Old Skool” Concert – September 2nd 
Ruthie Johnson and Connie Robinson of MISRGO
manage booth at concert


  • Mexican Independence Day – September 16th 
    Yolanda Amaya and Sue Espinoza (MISRGO grantee)
    manage booth at festival
    Youth dancers prepare for performance

    During each of these events, our dedicated team educated both African Americans and Hispanics about the ills of tobacco consumption and the availability of quitting resources via the Quit Line. From the distribution of educational materials from our booths to on-stage announcements, these events allowed us to direct our anti-tobacco messaging to our target audience in support of our on-going public education campaign. We are proud of our execution of these events and look forward to successful execution into the next quarter! 

    Madison County Health Coalition Congratulates Rusty Johnson

    Sergeant Rusty Johnson of Madison County wins the Trail Blazing Award during the Striking Out Tobacco Conference, August 26, 2011 in Little Rock. He works for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and is a native of Madison County. He is a certified car seat installer and volunteers his time to install car seats. Madison County Health Coalition is very proud of what Rusty does in the county by Volunteering his time to make our little citizens a lot saver and buckled up the proper way in a car seat. As the car seats are installed, parents are educated about the dangers of smoking in the vehicle with children present, secondhand smoke and the new Act 811.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    MISRGO Sub-Grant Award Ceremony a Huge Success


    Last Thursday, (July 14) at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) North Little Rock Campus (1333 Main Street, North Little Rock), the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office (MISRGO) awarded anti-tobacco grants, ranging from $35,000 - $65,000. Eighteen organizations from across the state received funding to support their leading efforts in effective community-based tobacco prevention and cessation strategies.

    The MISRGO at UAPB was established in 2002 as an initiative of the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement. The Office is responsible for addressing the devastating effects of tobacco consumption within Arkansas’ minority communities by preventing the initiation of tobacco use among youth, promoting cessation among youth and adults, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, and identifying and eliminating disparities from tobacco use among different population groups.

    “While we’ve made considerable strides in educating communities about the devastating effects of tobacco consumption, our fight is far from over,” stated Dr. Calvin Johnson, MISRGO Program Director. “However, each year, we look forward to awarding organizations that have clearly proven a commitment to joining us in this fight. We know there are more organizations that share our passion for securing healthier lives in the State of Arkansas. Our hope is to identify additional partnerships to further our mission.”

    MISRGO 2011-2012 grant award recipients included:
    · Arkansas Human Development Corporation (Little Rock)
    · Asian Pacific Resource & Cultural Center (Little Rock)
    · Calhoun Heights Community Outreach, Inc. (Magnolia)
    · Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (Little Rock)
    · Evergreen Baptist Church (El Dorado)
    · Family Service Agency (Little Rock)
    · Family & Youth Enrichment Network, Inc. (Helena-West Helena)
    · Future Builders, Inc. (Wrightsville)
    · Garland County C.A.R.E.S. (Hot Springs)
    · In His Image Youth Development Center, Inc. (Little Rock)
    · Legacy Initiatives (DeQueen)
    · Madison County Health Coalition (Huntsville)
    · Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Arkansas (Blytheville)
    · St. Francis House Northwest Arkansas Tobacco Free Coalition, Inc. (Springdale)
    · Southwest Arkansas Community Development Corporation (Magnolia)
    · We Care of Pulaski County (Wrightsville)
    · Wells Bayou Youth Development, Inc. (Gould)
    · Women’s Council on African American Affairs (Little Rock)

    “We were extremely proud of each of this year’s sub-grant award recipients,” noted Dr. Marian Evans, MISRGO Program Coordinator. “Our number of recipients continues to increase each year, and this demonstrates that Arkansans not only recognize the harmful effects of tobacco consumption but are willing to bind together to combat them. We have fought for this cause for nearly a decade, and we will continue to do so with the great support of our community.”

    Guest speakers included Dr. Calvin Johnson, Program Director, Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office; Miriam Karanja, Interim Chief, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program of the Arkansas Department of Health; and Dr. Marian Evans, Program Coordinator, Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office.

    For more information about the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office or to learn more about the recent awards ceremony, call 870.575.8923 or visit www.misrgo.org.

    Monday, May 23, 2011


    May 16 – 18, 2011 marked the 8th annual MISRGO Clearing the Air in Communities of Color Conference – another year of successfully advocating anti-tobacco lives in the state of Arkansas. The Conference kicked off May 16th with the first-ever pre-conference workshop facilitated by Dr. Jeannette Noltenius of the National Latino Tobacco Control Network (NLTCN). The workshop was hosted to speak specifically to the Hispanic/Latino community of Arkansas and share best practices and insights regarding tobacco control amongst this growing population. Several leaders within the Hispanic/Latino community were in attendance and actively participated in the discussion about the ills of tobacco consumption and increasing such knowledge across the state.

    The following day, May 17th, was the adult day of the Conference. A variety of anti-tobacco advocates shared stories of their experience within the tobacco industry and how they too seek to change consumption behavior within minority communities. Guest speakers for this day included Dr. Alan Blum, University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society; Dr. Jeannette Noltenius, National Latino Tobacco Control Network; Reverend Elaine Walters, National African-American Tobacco Education Network; and Ms. Joyce Raynor, Women’s Council on African American Affairs. The presentations and information shared with attendees were extremely informative and well-received. To further demonstrate support for the Conference and the anti-tobacco initiatives taking placing in Pine Bluff, the Pine Bluff Commercial developed a full-page cover story about the success of the Conference. Wonderful support from our local media partners!

    The last day of the Conference, May 18th, was the youth day, which featured interactive presentations and activities facilitated by Ms. Keisha Grigsby, a tobacco cessation interventionist. The youth day was capped by a smoke-free rap contest in which several of the student attendees participated. The rap contest was hosted by the YES Team and three prizes were given to the selected winners. The youth appeared to greatly enjoy the event. MISRGO looks forward to an even bigger and better Conference next year!






    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Smoke-free Cars... It's the Law in Arkansas




    The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas’ (CTFA) mission is to improve the health of Arkansans by reducing the health burden caused by tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke through the use of education, prevention and policy efforts.

    One of the many populations the CTFA seeks to protect from secondhand smoke exposure is Arkansas’ children. Secondhand smoke contains more than 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, just to name a few of them. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substance and poisons as smokers.

    In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke exposure in through 100% smoke-free environments, such as smoke-free homes, and smoke-free cars.

    After more than two years of hard work and three legislative bills, the
    Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, with the help from many of its partners, was successful in getting a law, Act 811 of 2011, passed to protect additional children from secondhand smoke exposure when in a motor vehicle. In 2006, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 13 of 2006 that prohibited smoking in a vehicle when a child between the ages of 0 – 6 years is present. However, on March 30, 2011, Governor Mike Beebe signed into law SB 1004, whereby increasing the age limit in Act 13 of 2006 from 6 years of age up to the age of 14 years. The new law, Act 811 of 2011, increased the percent of children protected from secondhand smoke exposure in a motor vehicle from 37.3% to 73.5%.

    Act 811 of 2011 is scheduled to go into effect on July 27, 2011.
    We’re on the right track, but our smoke-free cars work is not done until all minors are protected from secondhand smoke in a motor vehicle.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    EGBCTAP to Implement 40 Days to Freedom

    KTVE/NBC Channel 10 and Fox Channel 14 listeners are still--to-date--calling the Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program (EGBCTAP) for help to quit smoking. As a result of an overwhelming response to a minority disparity and 1-800-QUIT-NOW tobacco information television commercial, EGBCTAP has set May 5th as a beginning date for "40-Days to Freedom", a cessation campaign designed for use by faith-based organizations. Community grantees continue to be a trusted resource when a personal-touch is requested by various individuals. Graduation ceremonies have also been scheduled for June 12th for “quitters” who will successfully complete 40-day workshop. Each participant will receive free invitations in order to invite friends and family to their “quit-date” graduation services. Quitters will be guests of honor and guest speakers, certificates, food, etc. will accompany this gala event.

    Although most people believe television advertising is extremely costly, the actual advertising cost was less than $10 per commercial during a special provided by the station. NBC television staff assisted EGBCTAP by identifying time-and- show preferences (“Family Feud”, “Judge Joe Brown”, etc.) that surrounded the minority target population. Television advertising was a cost effective strategy that enabled EGBCTAP to reach a broader audience by crossing the state-line into the Louisiana area to bring in ten callers to the EGBCTAP office. EGBCTAP has further plans to include the valuable cessation workshop assistance online by “oovoo”. For more information concerning “40-Days to Freedom” call the EGBCTAP office at 870-918-7264 or the MISRGO office at 870-575-8923. For further help to quit smoking, please call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    UAPB/Stamp Out Smoking Administers Non-Traditional Intercept Research Assessment

    MISRGO, in partnership with its marketing/advertising agency, recently completed an innovative, non-traditional intercept research assessment against African American males in the following three markets:  Little Rock, Pine Bluff and West Memphis.

    The purpose of the research was to gain a better understanding of the perception of tobacco products, consumption trends, ills and preferred methods of cessation against African American males to become even better equipped to advocate for tobacco-free lives. 


    The data uncovered from the research was extremely informative. Below are just a few highlights from the research. 

    • Respondent’s feel that mentholated and non-mentholated are equally unhealthy. However, when prompted that mentholated (and all respondents smoke mentholated) is actually more harmful, most (77.1%) would still continue smoking mentholated and only (19%) would quit smoking entirely. 
    • Nearly all respondents (84.8%) were completely unaware of Erectile Dysfunction and almost the same number (85.7%) were unaware of any correlation between smoking and Erectile Dysfunction. However, when made aware of the correlation between smoking and Erectile Dysfunction (88.8%) would quit smoking. 
    • Only (22.9%) of respondents indicated that they smoked Black & Milds on a regular basis. However, only (12.5%) seemed to indicate flavored cigarettes as their preference, and they did so because they preferred the taste.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Highlights from Cinco de Mayo Activities

    Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a holiday held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla. The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.

    This year, the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office partnered with local Hispanic organizations to encourage tobacco prevention and cessation in recognition of Cinco de Mayo. Saturday, April 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the 8th annual ¡Hola! Arkansas Health & Safety Fair took place at the College Station Clinic and City Center. The following day, Sunday, May 1st from 12 – 8:00 p.m., the annual Cinco de Mayo activities were recognized by the Central Arkansas League of United Latin American Citizens at the Little Rock River Market.

    The Health and Safety Fair yielded strong attendance of approximately 1,000 Hispanic Americans and individuals from surrounding communities. MISRGO distributed educational brochures, Quit Line information, promotional items, and facilitated a DVD player raffle from its booth. The event was a huge hit!

    Although severe weather conditions did not allow for anticipated attendance at the Cinco de Mayo festival the following day, the MISRGO booth was still actively visited. Materials were distributed at the festival and a Stamp Out Smoking piƱata was developed specifically for this event. Beyond the promotional materials, information about the Clearing the Air in Communities of Color pre-conference workshop were distributed as well.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Highlights from Recent MISRGO Activities

    Your MISRGO team has been busy promoting and advocating tobacco-free lives in the State of Arkansas! Take a look at some of the successful activities we participated in this quarter.




    Kyle Hartsfield and Rosemarie Young manage the booth at the Midsouth Black Expo



    • MISRGO and Addiction Studies participated in the Annual Midsouth Summit Black Expo, February 26, 2011 at Little Rock’s Metroplex.  There were 3,500 in attendance and 82 booths present. MISRGO staff identified potential Clearing The Air Conference vendors, surveyed attendees and offered collaterals.
    • February kicked off efforts to speak directly to served and underserved counties by uniting with The Power 92 Jammers Charity Basketball team. The basketball season partnership has afforded MISRGO the opportunity to introduce Quitline information, disseminate cessation and prevention literature, address spectators at halftime and receive commentator mentions throughout the game. In the past several weeks 2,897 minority Arkansans have attended the charity basketball games, including those from Bradley, Arkansas, Washington, Pope and Hempstead counties.
    • MISRGO and Addiction Studies paired with KIPR-Power 92 Jams for the 2nd Annual Independent Youth Football League Benefit and Broadway Joe Birthday Weekend Celebration. Day 1, Friday, February 25, 2011, 675 Doubletree Hotel attendees learned of UAPB’s 15% Set-A-Side program and initiatives in an on stage demonstration. Day 2, Saturday evening, February 26, 2011, MISRGO encouraged prevention and cessation to 558 IYFL parents and announced collaboration with The Power 92 Jammers.
    • MISRGO and Addiction Studies partnered with the American Heart Association and KHLR-106.7 Hallelujah FM, April 8, 2011, in Little Rock for “An Evening with Wess Morgan”, Billboard’s current top 5 gospel artist. MISRGO and two Little Rock sub-grantees presented funding opportunity particulars, tobacco facts, law enhancements and Quit Line information. 226 African American adults were in attendance.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Arkansas To Work Against Second-Hand Smoke

    The Mississippi County Coalition For a Tobacco-Free Arkansas is seeking to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Elroy Brown of the coalition says, “We are promoting Lung Cancer Awareness Month. We would also like to honor the move of the United States military, on December 31, 2010, wherein all submarines deployed below the surface will become smoke-free, a move which will protect crews from secondhand smoke”. The Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco Free Arkansas applauds the United States Navy's timely action. For information on quitting tobacco, call the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
    That's 1-800-784-8669.

    MISRGO/Addiction Studies Advertising Campaign Wins International Award


    The 15% Set-A-Side Program, housed at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, has been recognized by the International Davey Awards for its cutting edge anti-tobacco media campaign. “Stand Off”, a creative commercial featuring world boxing champion Jermain Taylor, and “Stamp It Out”, a hip-hop commercial featuring rapper Lil’ Speedie, were awarded in the categories of Healthcare (non-hospital) and Not-for-Profit, respectively. Both were thirty-second television commercials designed to promote the benefits of tobacco cessation and to encourage minorities to abstain from the use of tobacco products.

    Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program Launches Park Signs Project


    The Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program (EBCTAP) is a tobacco intervention program based in El Dorado, Arkansas. Our efforts include health promotional campaigns to address disparities, as well as cessation strategies that reduce tobacco use among youth and adults.  The activities of EBCTAP are geared towards:  Communicating to young people and adults that tobacco products are exceptionally hazardous and highly addictive and building public perceptions that it is unacceptable to contribute in any way to addicting people to tobacco.

    The recent park signs project is the end-result of a long journey of EBCTAP’s efforts, including community surveys and events, tobacco litter park collection clean-ups, press releases, letters-to-the-editors, city-council challenges, etc.  The development of the signs are near completion, as the city workers were assigned to place signs in all of El Dorado’s city parks by Mayor Mike Dumas.  Eddie and Carolyn Yarbrough, Tobacco Director and Coordinator of EBCTAP, would also like to thank Pride Youth Program of El Dorado who were active in success of this project.

    Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Arkansas Holds Monthly Meeting

    The Mississippi County Coalition For a Tobacco-Free Arkansas recently held its monthly meeting at the First Missionary Baptist Church in Blytheville. Dr. Anes Abraham, Founder of the Pediatric & Teens Medical Center of Blytheville was the guest speaker. Dr Abraham said "Smoking, which is the most common cause of lung cancer, is also a leading cause of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. Over 13 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 used a tobacco product in the past month.” Dr. Abraham stated that smoking is particularly harmful for teens because their bodies are still growing and changing. The 200 known poisons in cigarette smoke affect normal development and can cause life-threatening diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and stroke. For information on quitting tobacco, call the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline at 1-800- QUIT-NOW. That's 1-800-784-8669.

    Annual Health Fair Promotes Smoke-Free Arkansas

    The Asian Pacific Resource and Cultural Center and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission held their annual Health Fair at the Mosaic Church in Little Rock on November 9th, 2010. The event was sponsored by Ms. Idonia Trotter, Arkansas Minority Health Commission; Mr. Eddie Woodruff, Farmers Insurance; Mr. Eric Townsend, Arkansas Health Networks; and Ms. Martie North, Bank of the Ozarks. A special thanks to Cesar Ortega, Executive Pastor, of the Mosaic Church. Additional vendors in attendance were Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Family Service Agency Drug Prevention and Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency, Arkansas Department of Health Breast Care, American General Life and Accident Insurance Company by Wensheng Sha and Asian Pacific Coalition for a Smoke Free Arkansas.

    Free testing was provided by UAMS Partner for Inclusive Communities (sickle cell), Arkansas Minority Health Commission (blood pressure and glucose), UAMS (diabetes), and Arkansas Human Development Corporation (HIV).  We would also like to thank our dedicated volunteers, Mrs. Irina Smith and Mr. Moon Ho. The event helped over 150 families receive health and wellness information and testing.

    Launch of 40 Days to Freedom

    The “40 Days to Freedom” kicked off with an informational session, hosted by Toney Bailey, Arkansas Department of Health and Dr. Marian Evans, MISRGO, November 30th. Individuals attending represented Central Arkansas’ faith-based community. The training session, which served as an opportunity for faith-based leaders and representatives to learn how they may each contribute to the anti-tobacco efforts taking place in Arkansas, took place December 9th. The session was led by Reverend Elaine P. Mangrum Walters, a nationally-known preacher, author, speaker and teacher. There were more than 25 individuals within the faith-based community that either expressed interest in the program or attended the training session!

    Highlights from 4th Quarter 2010

    MISRGO had a great 4th quarter! From tobacco workshops to public relations events, we have much to be proud of. Just to name a few of our successes, MISRGO executed a series of tailgates, with urban radio partners KIPR and KHLR, for the UAPB football games. Additionally, MISRGO worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Health TPCP to successfully launch the “40 Days to Freedom” program, a culturally-tailored and spiritually-inspired tobacco cessation program for the African-American community. Go MISRGO!

    Little Rock Zoo Goes Smoke Free

    The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA) has worked for more than a year to prevent designated smoking areas from becoming a part of the zoo’s proposed smoke-free policy.  The CTFA, along with several other tobacco prevention advocates such as Joe Arnold and Genine Perez-Porch, and the YES Team’s efforts paid off on November 8, 2010. The Little Rock Zoo Board of Governors adopted a smoke free policy for the zoo, abandoning the original proposal to create three designated smoking areas.

    Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., killing more than 50,000 non-smokers each year. In Arkansas, 510 non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. Even minor exposure to smoke at home, in the car, in a public environment, such as a zoo, can be harmful to the cardiovascular system of healthy children.

    A 2007 study released by the American Heart Association in the Circulation:  Journal of the American Heart Association shows that exposure to second-hand smoke can harm the function of the arteries in children, just as other research has found that second-hand smoke harms the function of the arteries in adults.