Quit's first positive anti-smoking campaign in almost two decades starts tonight, urging smokers to Never give up giving up.
In a new approach not seen in Australia before, the campaign recognises the difficulties facing quitting smokers and is designed to build smokers' confidence to quit for good rather than focus on the negative effects of smoking.
It comes as new research from Cancer Council Victoria reveals how much smokers do want to stop smoking.
Eight out of ten Victorian smokers have tried to quit at least once, while more than half of Victorian smokers have tried to quit multiple times.[i]
Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the figures showed most smokers want to stop smoking, but often lack the confidence and resolve to do so successfully.
"Many smokers don't realise it can take multiple times to give up smoking for good, so during that quitting cycle they can start to feel beaten and helpless."
"We understand what those smokers are going through and are saying to them: you can succeed. No matter how many times you've tried before, give quitting another go today."
"Every time you quit you get a little better at it so never give up giving up."
The television commercial follows a smoker caught up in the cycle of quitting and relapsing. At first he quits for three days, then six weeks, and then one year. At the ad's conclusion we see him successfully smoke free for three years.
The campaign also features radio and internet advertising, a campaign website http://www.keepquitting.org.au/ as well as social media tools to support smokers while they are quitting and help them stay quit[ii].
Quit's expanded social marketing program is made possible by new funding of $8.5 million from the Victorian Government and $1.5 million from VicHealth between 2009-2012.
VicHealth CEO Todd Harper said the campaign is an acknowledgement about the challenges facing smokers who are trying to quit.
"Smoking can be tough to give up but that doesn't mean smokers shouldn't give it a go. Really, there's nothing to lose and everything to gain."
"Smokers who quit at age 50 halve their risk of death caused by smoking, while quitting by age 30 avoids almost all of the excess risk associated with smoking[iii]. It's far better to try and try again, than to fail to try again."
Ms Sharkie said the campaign marked a different approach for Quit, but didn't signal the end of graphic or negative emotion ads.
"Research has shown that graphic and negative emotion ads have been a major force in driving down smoking rates and they will continue to feature in our campaigns in the future. However, we know smokers need to be supported and positively encouraged to quit as well. This campaign does that."
To arrange an interview with Quit Executive Director Fiona Sharkie or VicHealth CEO Todd Harper, please contact Quit Media Coordinator Jessica Longbottom on 0438 714 264
Notes to Editors:
[i] New Cancer Council Victoria survey results of 741 Victorian smokers show 85% of smokers have made at least one quit attempt while 54% of smokers have made three or more quit attempts.
[ii] For example, 38% of smokers attempting to quit said stress was a main reason they lit up again, while 20% of smokers trying to quit said that social pressure caused them to slip up and have a cigarette (R Borland, Ph.D. Relationships between Mood around Slip-Up and Recovery of Abstinence in Smoking Cessation Attempts, International Journal of the Addictions.) People who drink larger amounts of alcohol also tend to smoke more cigarettes (Roy Morgan Liquor Consumption Report May 2010.)
[iii] Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J and Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years' observations on male British doctors. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 2004;328:1519. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/328/7455/1519
Ø Quit Victoria is a joint initiative of the Department of Health, VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria and the Heart Foundation.
Ø Smokers wanting to quit can also get more information at http://www.quit.org.au/ and by calling the Quitline on 13 QUIT (7848)
Ø Half of all long-term smokers will die because of their smoking
Ø 15,000 Australians and almost 4,000 Victorians die from smoking every year