No Smoke and Mirrors: At the Tender Age of 22, Jeff Jordan Is Leading a Company That Tries to Show Gay Men They Can Be Fabulous and Rebellious without Cigarettes

By Henneman, Todd | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), March 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

No Smoke and Mirrors: At the Tender Age of 22, Jeff Jordan Is Leading a Company That Tries to Show Gay Men They Can Be Fabulous and Rebellious without Cigarettes


Henneman, Todd, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


At age 14, Jeff Jordan came out. At 17, he started a company focused on getting people to quit smoking, curb drinking, and live healthier. At 21, he is a business whiz--the leader of Rescue Social Change Group, a company with 13 employees and revenues expected to reach $1.5 million this year.

It all began when a friend invited Jordan, then in high school, to attend an antismoking youth group. "This young man came in and basically took over the meeting," says Maria Azzarelli, tobacco control coordinator for the Clark County Health District, which includes Las Vegas, thus serving 70% of Nevada. "He was so intelligent, so articulate, and such a leader. I was like, Who is this kid? "That kid, deciding he could do the work of the country's high-priced consultant better and for less, soon formed a company and landed his first contract.

Rescue Social Change Group now has clients in 12 states, and Jordan is blazing a new path in the decades-old field of social marketing, which applies commercial-marketing methods to social issues. Translation: He's more likely to suggest sponsoring smoke-free hip-hop parties than filling billboards with statistics.

In an era when retailers use shirtless models to sell clothes, many public-health commercials still bet on logic to change behavior. And that seems so old-school to Jordan.

"The people who are most likely to be smoking or doing drugs or drinking or whatever--they really aren't thinking about the future," he says. "They know that they could get sick and they could die. They're doing it because it makes them feel something else: It makes them feel sexy, or it makes them feel rebellious. It's all about image."

Rescue Social Change launched a stop-smoking campaign called "Urban Fuel," which offers pictures of the smoke-free "hottest hotties" of Las Vegas, T-shirts to 'turn your hot body into a hot statement," and the "young and sexy" calendar of no-smoking parties. …

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