Smoking Cessation

Helping understand what people think- can we influence smokers as they go into hospital?

We were approached by Kirklees Council’s Public Health Team to see if we would be interested in influencing the design of a new campaign which aims to persuade smokers to consider stopping before they have an operation

We learned that the point at which people go into hospital for an operation is a good opportunity to motivate behaviour change. We learned that a poster campaign that ran in GP surgeries and pre-operation waiting rooms could have a significant impact on the numbers of people using smoking cessation services and successfully giving up before their operation.

We were asked to design a process to test out a set of posters for this campaign that had been designed by Kirklees Public Health.

We strongly believe that in order to get the best quality feedback from people, engagement work needs to be completed in the right time, with the right people, in the right place to target exactly the right people we want to understand. As a result we tested the questions with patients in smoking shelters in hospitals in December 2015. Our team approached patients with large laminated copies of the posters, and asked for their comments.

Example smoking poster:

When designing the process we learned that imagery used in public health campaigns should be relevant so that people identify with the issue. We learned that it should be understandable and clear, emotive and thought provoking, but not shocking, and we designed questions that tested these principles out.

* How does it make you feel?

* What is your immediate reaction? Does it make you think? Or make you want to do something?

* Do you understand what the imagery is trying to say? What does it say to you?

* Is the language clear? Does it make sense?

* What does it make you think about? Does it remind you of anything or anyone? What effect does it have on you?

* Is the image relevant to you? Is the issue being portrayed relevant to you? Do you identify with the situation?

* Do you think the imagery or language could be improved? If so, how?

When we took the original set of posters out patients said;

“These don’t make me want to stop smoking they look like adoption posters, not that they are warning you to stop smoking because of the dangers”

“the creators of the advert should insert cigarettes into the images which would attract more smokers to look at the posters”

“When you first look at the posters it’s not clear what they are about. The picture does not go with the message. The people in the posters don’t look like smokers, they look like healthy happy people. The posters should show how real smokers look like. Posters don’t make you think about the ill effects of smoking.”

We fed these comments to the Public Health Team in Kirklees Council. The comments were used to completely redesign the campaign. The new campaign reflects many of the concerns that patients raised with us. They are harder hitting, and clearly targeted at smokers and hospitals in line with what patients said.

Example of re-designed poster:

In 2016 we re-tested the new posters again at the same smoking shelters in Dewsbury Hospital. Patients said;

“Yes, they’re good. Would attract my attention”

“Like the pictures, makes you look at them”

“Good message to get out there”

“OK, would make me stop and think”

“Like what they’re trying to get across”

“Good if they’re large posters and dotted round the hospital”

“They’re good, would make me think if I could do it”

The new sets of posters will go out later in 2016.

The work has been positive for Healthwatch Kirklees in a number of ways.

* We have delivered quick, targeted, nimble patient feedback for commissioners, which has helped them design a better service for patients.

* We have reflected the views of people and patients in our community, and helped people influence the design of a better and more effective campaign.

* We have worked as a partner towards the objectives of our Health and Wellbeing Strategy as an active member of our Health and Wellbeing Board, making a positive contribution towards its wider targets.

* The results of our work will be seen across Kirklees, and will deliver real improvements to the lives of people in our community by encouraging people to use smoking cessation services at a key point in their lives.