How you shaped our health information

tom's quote

One of the ways we can help to reduce cancer inequalities is by making sure all our information is accessible. Last year, teams across Cancer Research UK launched a project to raise awareness of ways to stop smoking and encourage people to take action.

We know there's a higher occurrence of smoking in more deprived areas and also, that people have a better chance of successfully quitting by getting support from free local stop-smoking services. 

Cancer Research UK developed information posters to display in 180 of our shops that encouraged people in the most deprived areas to contact their free, local service and start on their quitting journey.

How you helped develop the posters

Stop smoking campaigns can often increase smoking stigma and lead to negative reactions. We wanted to ensure the posters were sensitive, yet accurate and effective.

You played a key role in helping us develop the posters whilst ensuring the tone was sensitive to patients and the wider public. 68% voted this headline as the best option for the poster: 

“More people in Scotland are stopping smoking than ever before. It’s never too late to stop smoking.”

Examples of why people preferred this headline:

  • It’s a simple and positive message.
  • The ‘it’s never too late’ line is encouraging and gives people hope. Especially to those who may have tried to give up in the past.
  • It feels non-judgemental.
  • Smokers see a lot of stats about the health risks associated with smoking, so this doesn’t have as much impact.

We used both sentences on the final posters. Further suggestions were to include A QR code on the poster, place them in shop windows, and provide shop staff with information and resources on stopping smoking to hand out during the campaign.

All these suggestions were implemented in the project.

The result 

The posters were featured in shop windows chosen for having the highest level of smoking.  The project was evaluated through a survey with shop staff, with more than a quarter reporting that they were prompted to act and the most popular action being to encourage people they know to stop smoking. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, we’re pleased to add that there have been no complaints from staff or customers about the posters. 

Thanks again for your involvement in this pilot project! We’ll come back to you for more insight on future health information campaigns in our shops.

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