Smoking inside is never okay. Smoke outside. Do it for your children: keys to a successful mass media campaign against secondhand and thirdhand smoke
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Kom op tegen Kanker, Belgium
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A69
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An inquiry of parents by phone in 2014 showed that in Flanders still 68.000 children were daily exposed to the smoke of their parents’ cigarettes. Although the number had decreased since the first time we held the inquiry in 2008 (115.000 children) we wanted to further decrease that number by means of a mass media campaign.

The 2014 inquiry had revealed that mainly parents with a lower education still smoked in the presence of their children. In order to understand our target audience better, we held focus groups with smoking parents. Furthermore we asked intermediaries such als GP’s, pediatricians, pharmacists, etc. by means of an online forum what it takes or would take for them to discuss the subject with smoking parents.

The focus groups revealed that there are still a lot of misunderstandings about secondhand and thirdhand smoke. Furthermore parents don’t want to be told off and don’t want to be stigmatised, as smokers often are. But they do want to protect their children. For many of them, to quit smoking is a bridge too far. We also discovered that intermediaries need a trigger to discuss the subject with smoking parents. Based on these findings the campaign ‘Smoking inside is never okay’ was developed. It turned out to be very successful. One part of the campaign focussed on the parents (mass mediacampaign with tv-spots, website, social media campaign), the other part focussed on the intermediaries (with f.i. a brochure they could hand out to parents). A new inquiry at the beginning of 2018, just after the fourth wave, revealed that the number of children that is exposed to cigarette smoke by their parents further decreased to 36.000.

It is essential to get to know your target audience before developing a campaign. The research we did was the key to develop a successful campaign.

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