Claire Beale on Advertising: The fag end of anti-smoking campaigns
Monday 28 February 2011
The advertising industry always said that the Government's decision to reduce spending on advertising would be a false economy.
Now there's early evidence it was right. According to figures from the Department for Health, the number of people who have quit smoking has fallen by a third since the government culled its anti-smoking advertising.
A time of savage cuts might not be conducive to abstaining from life's remaining pleasures but there's clear evidence of the damage done by pulling anti-smoking ads. Take last year's figures as a benchmark. In the first quarter of 2010 the Government spent £860,000 on advertising; 125,000 people kicked the habit. But when the ad budget dropped to £26,000 in the second quarter, only 86,000 smokers quit. New Year is by far the most popular time to try to quit, but the trend is clear. By the autumn, when anti-smoking ads had stopped altogether, the numbers giving up their nicotine fix were 38 per cent down on the first quarter of the year.
Empirical evidence of advertising's effectiveness is not always easy to come by but the smoking stats are plain enough. The new figures are unlikely to persuade the Cabinet Office to amend its ad-slashing ways but they should persuade the government that advertising can be a force for good.
So it's left to charities like Quit to help smokers beat the habit. It has just launched a campaign, by Iris, in which inserts are slipped into paperbacks in libraries and second-hand bookshops.
The insert is placed before the final chapter in each book and chillingly reads: "The End. If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15 per cent before it should."
Claire Beale is editor of Campaign
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
The male and female faces thought to be the epitome of beauty, according to British people
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...
£20 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a tech savvy Product Design Engineer /...
£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: German speaking Account Manager / ...
£23 - 30K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a System Ad...