According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health, West Virginia has the highest reported adult smoking rate in the nation – 26.7 percent. The Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA), a CADCA Initiative, has collaborated with Community Connections, a West Virginia based coalition, on Mark’s Barn.
“While we are pleased with the decrease in smoking in recent years, it is still a serious health issue in our country, especially in West Virginia,” said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America). “Prominent and poignant signs, like Mark’s Barn, will serve not only as a motivation to encourage smoking cessation from current smokers, but ideally as a deterrent for future smokers and tobacco users.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign – Tips from Former Smokers ® (Tips ®). The Tips® campaign profiles real people who are living with the serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Positive outcomes of the Tips™ campaign and ads include:
- About 1.6 million tried to quit smoking because of the 2012 Tips™ campaign and about 100,000 of these quit smoking for good.
- The 2012 Tips™ campaign averted at least 17,000 premature deaths.
- Tips™ is a “best buy” in public health at a cost of just $393 per year of life saved.
With the guidance of Gregory Puckett, Executive Director of Community Connections, GHEA has localized Tips ® real stories as a way of responding to geographic disparities related to tobacco and cancer via culturally competent media – barns. Puckett identified a Pocahontas County barn to feature Tips key messages, highlighting Mark’s tip: “Those things you say will never happen to you? They happen.”
Mark’s Barn marks the 13º barn painted by Community Connections, Inc., the Barn Artist and other key partners in West Virginia. The completion of each barn is made whole with a dedication ceremony. The dedication ceremony for Mark’s Barn took place on Thursday, October 12, 2017 along U.S. Highway 219 in Marlinton, West Virginia.