- Minorities & Smoking – Home
- Taking Notice
- The Power of Tobacco Marketing ▼
- A History of Marketing Menthol to Minorities
- Supporting and Suppressing Minority Communities ▼
- Targeting Latinos
- Targeting Minority Women: A Marginalized Market
- Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
- The DOC Response
- Recent Struggles
Doug Minkler - Counter-Advertising Anti-Smoking Project
“People will see what cigarettes really do to you.”
Video clip of San Francisco TV news story featuring artist Doug Minkler teaching schoolchildren to create DOC counter-advertisements
The DOC Response
DOC (Doctors Ought to Care) was founded in 1977 by a group of family physicians to counteract the growing use and promotion of cigarettes, alcohol, and other harmful products to teenagers. The organization’s mission remained unchanged during its 25-year effort: to educate the public, especially young people, in humorous and refreshing ways about the major preventable causes of poor health and high medical costs. Through more than 120 chapters in medical schools and family medicine residency training programs, DOC worked in the clinic, classroom, and community to tap the highest level of commitment of every health professional to combat the promotion of lethal lifestyles in the mass media. DOC’s motto: “Laughing the pushers out of town.” Pioneering strategies included the purchase of billboard, bus bench, radio, and TV advertisements that parodied cigarette brand names, including Benson & Heart Attacks, Barfboro, and Fartboro. The group sponsored local, state, and national counter-advertising poster contests and essay competitions (for example, “Should tobacco industry executives be criminally tried for the deaths, diseases, and fires that their products cause?”). DOC also held dozens of protests (known as “house calls”) across the country to mock events sponsored by tobacco companies, most notably the Virginia Slims Women’s Tennis Circuit, which DOC renamed the Emphysema Slims with Billie Jean Butthead and Martina Nosmokanova.
For nearly three decades, DOC worked with communities of color throughout the United States, assisting them in developing innovative school-based and community-based strategies for dealing with the problems of tobacco and alcohol. For example, in 1994 DOC began a collaboration project with Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Allied Health to implement DOC’s irreverent pro-health approach in the predominantly African-American North Forest Independent School District in Houston, Texas. School leaders, weary and wary of medical schools and schools of public health with grants seeking to use students as research subjects, warmed to DOC’s approach to teach students to use humor and satire to counter the use and promotion of unhealthy products.