POST B: Stoptober (England) Case Study

(Glenday 2017)

Stoptober is a national campaign that launched in England in 2012 based on behavioural change theory that uses both traditional and new media to create a positive mass quitting trigger. It is designed to encourage smokers to quit smoking for 28 days during the month of October based on the insight that you can achieve this, you are five times more likely to quit for good (Bennett 2017). Stoptober is estimated to have generated an extra 350,000 attempts to quit smoking, saving around 10,400 years of life. The campaign is considered to be highly cost-effective, coming in at less than £415 (740 AUD) per discounted life year. With fifty percent more people attempting to quit smoking compared to other months in the same year (‘Stoptober success’ 2014), it is considered a successful campaign in both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

Between 2008 and 2016, a study of mass media expenditure towards smoke-free campaigns such as Stoptober found that there was an association between higher expenditure on tobacco control campaigns in England and an increase in quit success rates (Kuipers et al. 2018). Funded by Public Health England, Stoptober reaches out to the public through TV, radio, traditional and digital press, media partnerships, and local and regional organisations such as the national Stop Smoking Services.

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(Devon County Council n.d.)

The multi-faceted public health campaign provides support for staying smoke-free through motivational text-messaging, and an app for self-monitoring progress. Psychological principles such as the use of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive) goals means that a difficult behavioural goal seems more attainable through starting with very specific intermediary goals (Brown et al. 2014). PRIME theory is also considered in the use of motivational text-messaging and peer support via Facebook, the theory being that behaviour is determined on a moment-to-moment basis due to a variety of inputs, impulses and emotional states (Brown et al. 2014). Frequent messages provide a trigger for smoking cessation and Stoptober provides an opportunity for people to do the challenge at the same time as others.

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(Smail 2016)

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(Smail 2016)

Overall, the mass media campaign Stoptober has provided good value for money as a tool for digital support for quitters and life-saving public health intervention. The campaign’s use of key psychological principles with a clear behavioural target has made a substantial impact on public health in triggering serious quit attempts and significant behavioural change.

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Bennett, V. 2017, ‘Stoptober: helping to achieve a smoke-free generation’, Practice Nursing, vol. 28, no. 10, pp. 440-442.

Brown, J., Kotz, D., Michie, S., Stapleton, J., Walmsley, M. & West, R. 2014, ‘How effective and cost-effective was the national mass media smoking cessation campaign ‘Stoptober’?’, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 135, viewed 10 January 2019, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871613004705?via%3Dihub>

Devon County Council n.d., Pinterest, viewed 10 January 2019, <https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/232709505723256924/?lp=true>

Glenday, J. 2017, Stoptober 2017 TV Advert, video recording, Youtube, viewed 10 January 2019, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28aIsV4ya5A>

Kuipers, M. A. G., Beard, E., West, R. & Brown, J. 2018, ‘Associations between tobacco control mass media campaign expenditure and smoking prevalence and quitting in England: a time series analysis’, Tobacco Control, vol. 27, viewed 10 January 2019, <https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/27/4/455>

Smail, P. 2016, Stoptober: The Marketers Smoking Gun?, Eight Million Stories, viewed 10 January 2019, <https://8ms.com/2016/10/25/stoptober-marketers-smoking-gun>

‘Stoptober success’ 2014, British Dental Journal, vol. 216, no. 3, p. 100.

POST B: Stoptober – a case study

In 2012 the English Department of Health designed a campaign called ‘Stoptober’, which focuses on the psychological principles underpinning tobacco use…

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Studies reveal the effectiveness of mass media anti-smoking campaigns (Bala et al., 2008, 2012) and studies that compare different message types find that harm focused messages have a higher impact than those with an ‘anti-industry or how-to-quit-themes’ (Durkin et al., 2012). In 2012 the English Department of Health designed a campaign called ‘Stoptober’, which focuses on the psychological principles underpinning tobacco use, aiming to create a positive mass quitting trigger, an area which Durkin et al. (2012) shows there has been little research done on the effectiveness. The name itself, ‘Stoptober’, was designed to build engagement with the public through the association with other popular national events such as ‘Movember’ and to increase awareness on social media. The campaign was seen in a combination of traditional media such as TV, print, radio, online advertising and digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter with the aim to create a social movement around a specific activity, stopping smoking for 28 days.

The main psychological principles which the campaign underpinned its components included:

The campaign used both top-down strategies, with advertising and public relations as well as bottom-up strategies, with its peer networking and support services. The results of the campaign show that more than 300,000 people took part in the campaign in 2012 and the overall estimate of past-month quitting was calculated to be 4.15%, being most cost-effective for the modal 35-44 year-old group, with an ICER (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio) of £414.26 (Brown et al., 2014). As a public health campaign, the cost-effectiveness of Stoptober compared favourably with other estimates concerning UK anti-tobacco campaigns. The effectiveness of the campaign is shown through its continuation since 2012 (Brown et al., 2014).

Some interesting strategies such as the motivational text messaging programme is a particularly effective strategy with teens, as revealed in the Swiss study ‘Efficacy of a text messaging (SMS) based smoking cessation intervention for adolescents and young adults’ (Haug et al., 2012). Unique to this study is the use of personalised messages that changes depending on the users’ personal traits over an extended period of 24 months.

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An example of personalised text messages to participants. (Haug et al., 2012)

 

The Stoptober campaign reveals the effectiveness of national campaigns based on psychological motivations through positive messages and social behavioural movements over the common fear strategies utilised in anti-smoking campaigns.

 

Bala M., Strzeszynski L., Cahill K. Can tobacco control programmes that include a mass media campaign help to reduce levels of smoking among adults. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2012;(6) Art. No.: CD004704.

Brown, J., Kotz, D., Michie, S., Stapleton, J., Walmsley, M. & West, R. 2014, “How effective and cost-effective was the national mass media smoking cessation campaign ‘Stoptober’?”, Drug and alcohol dependence, vol. 135, pp. 52-58, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3929003/>.

Haug, S., Meyer, C., Dymalski, A., Lippke, S. & John, U. 2012, “Efficacy of a text messaging (SMS) based smoking cessation intervention for adolescents and young adults: Study protocol of a cluster randomised controlled trial”, BMC Public Health, vol. 12, pp. 51, <https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-12-51>.

Durkin S., Brennan E., Wakefield M. Mass media campaigns to promote smoking cessation among adults: an integrative review. Tob. Control. 2012;21:127–138, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22345235>.