It seems like a long time ago, but it has been less than a decade since tobacco executives testified to Congress insisting they didn't know nicotine is addictive.
In the mid- and late-1990s, Dan was on the team that exposed big tobacco on the West Coast. Working on behalf of the Tobacco Free Coalition of Oregon, Dan helped design and implement a statewide media relations campaign designed to increase understanding of the tobacco industry youth-focused marketing strategies and to build public support for tough anti-smoking laws.
Strategies included having a former tobacco pitch-man travel the state talking to junior high kids, distributing hundreds of single-use cameras to grade school classes to have them document the pro-tobacco messages that reached them every day, recruiting community leaders to author op-eds encouraging smoke-free workplace ordinances and outfitting grassroots advocates with the tools necessary to generally make the tobacco industry miserable.
The campaign generated millions of impressions, rallied Oregonians at the local level, gave them resources to organize grassroots coalitions, engaged legislators and ultimately helped persuade big tobacco to change its ways forever.
The program was recognized with the 1997 PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in Public Affairs.