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Piggybacking as a media advocacy strategy to increase enrolments in a gender-oriented smoking cessation programme
  1. Sandra Noemi Braun1,
  2. Paola Morello2,
  3. Adriana Angel1,
  4. Diego Sanchez Gelos1,
  5. María V Armaleo1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de Clinicas, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2National Health Ministry, Argentinean National Tobacco Control Program, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sandra Noemi Braun, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de Clinicas, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; sandrabraun{at}


Argentina is probably moving to the third phase of the smoking epidemic. Female smoking prevalence is expected to increase over the coming years. In Argentina, smoking cessation programmes usually do not provide specific treatment tailored to women. We implemented a ‘piggybacking’ media strategy with the goal of announcing the opening of the first gender-oriented smoking cessation programme in Argentina. Piggybacking is a well-known media advocacy strategy in which the newsworthiness of a particular story is increased by releasing it at the same time as a breaking news story about a related topic. We prepared a press release/report about tobacco use among women, as well as our gender-oriented clinic, for the local news media, which appeared in print around the time a well-known young Argentinean actress died. To assess the impact of this strategy, we reviewed media coverage after the press release was issued. We also compared the number of new participants in our programme during the 4 months before and after the report's publication. During the 4 months following our press release, we found five reports in print media, gave 22 radio and seven television interviews, and found 30 digital media publications drawing on our press release. When comparing the 4 months before with the 4 months after the strategy, new participants in our programme increased by 246.15%. This strategy could be a suitable alternative to other media advocacy strategies to increase the number of new participants in smoking cessation programmes.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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