Anti smoking tactics bmj 2012

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Anti-smoking campaign: shocking tactics

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Anti smoking tactics bmj 2012

  1. 1. BMJ 2012;345:e8697 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8697 (Published 28 December 2012) Page 1 of 2News NEWSNew anti-smoking campaign adopts shock tacticsGareth IacobucciBMJA hard hitting new government campaign warning about the The advert, targeted at young people, will air pre-watershed for“hidden dangers” of smoking may not be effective in targeting nine weeks from 28 December 2012 and will be supported byall smokers and should be used alongside other measures, say outdoor and online media.public health experts. England’s chief medical officer Sally Davies said: “We wantThe campaign, launched this week by the Department of Health, smokers to understand that each packet of cigarettes increasesincludes a new TV advert featuring a tumour growing on a their risk of cancer. And I want smokers to know that the NHScigarette as it is smoked, which is designed to make the invisible will help you quit.”damage caused by cigarettes visible. The government estimates Davies described the campaign as “a tough message for a newthat around 365 000 people will attempt to quit as a result of generation,” many of whom will recall previous hard hittingthe campaign. campaigns. “It is difficult getting the message over, [but] I trulyBut public health experts said the shock tactics will benefit some believe this campaign is going to make a difference.”more than others and called for other initiatives, such as Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said:standardised packaging of tobacco products and funding for “Hard hitting campaigns such as this illustrate the damagesmoking cessation schemes. caused by smoking and this can encourage people to quit orJohn Middleton, vice president of the Faculty of Public Health, may even stop them from starting in the first place.”said: “FPH welcomes this focus on the dangers of smoking as Martin Dockrell, director of policy at public health charitypart of a broader strategy that it believes should also include Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “You need a varietythe standardised packaging of tobacco products. of messages. There are a lot of smokers out there who have tried“However, it urges caution that the approach may benefit some to quit before and just need the help to motivate themselves.more than others, and that monitoring its effectiveness may For many, a campaign like this will stiffen their resolve.”prove difficult. Positive images of non-smoking and of how to Melanie Wakefield is director of the Centre for Behaviouralstop successfully are also needed. Many believe wrongly that Research in Cancer in Melbourne and has also done researchthe harm is already done, so there is little point in stopping, or on tobacco control mass media campaigns. She said there wasthey won’t cope without cigarettes. Work is needed to support strong evidence that mass media campaigns are effective inthese people and funding for smoking cessation services adults. They work in young people because they make smokingsecured.” “seem disgusting.”The campaign, which will cost £2.7m (€3.3m; $4.4m), is “These kinds of messages work because they help adult smokersdescribed as the government’s first “shock” advert since the to viscerally ‘feel’ the risks of smoking—and therefore increase“fatty cigarette” campaign in 2004. It has been sparked by the sense of urgency and motivation to quit. This style ofresearch showing that more than a third of smokers still believe campaign is highly effective in cutting through clutter ofthe health risks associated with smoking are greatly exaggerated, competing media, and generates lots of discussion about thewhile the number of people trying to quit has fallen. harms of smoking and the need to quit,” she said.It is supported by several charities, including Cancer Research However, Wakefield added that the hard hitting campaign shouldUK, and will also encourage smokers to collect “quit be complemented by other tobacco control policies andkits”—practical tools and advice to help smokers quit additional help for people trying to quit.smoking—which are available free of charge from more than England’s Department of Health launched a consultation on8200 pharmacies across England. standardised tobacco packaging in April 2012 to which moreThe government said the initiative would bolster the tough than 200 000 members of the public responded by the 10 Augustmessage already being projected through banning tobacco deadline.1 2 The government is considering its response.vending machines in licensed premises; raising the legal age ofsmoking from 16 to 18 years; the “stoptober” challenge to stop 1 England to have consultation on plain packaging for cigarettes. BMJ 2012;344:e2776.smoking for 28 days, and the national campaign warning against 2 Public supports plain cigarette packaging. BMJ 2012;345:e5517.the dangers of second-hand smoke. Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8697 © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 2012For personal use only: See rights and reprints http://www.bmj.com/permissions Subscribe: http://www.bmj.com/subscribe
  2. 2. BMJ 2012;345:e8697 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8697 (Published 28 December 2012) Page 2 of 2 NEWSFor personal use only: See rights and reprints http://www.bmj.com/permissions Subscribe: http://www.bmj.com/subscribe

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