Phoenix infects RAF Lincolnshire personnel with the ‘stop smoking’ bug
Nominated Category: Health Improvement and Promotion Award
RAF Lincolnshire Supported Stop Smoking Network
PHOENIX Stop Smoking Service, Lincolnshire NHS Community Health Services
The innovative way the marketing approach was sold to all Lincolnshire's MOD staff by their Phoenix Stop Smoking Service-supported MOD Advisors was crucial in getting them to consider stopping smoking. All of RAF Lincolnshire's smokers had the awareness of smoking cessation raised to them; 180 staff went on to set a quit attempt with 128 going on to quit, an astonishingly high 71% quit rate. This means potentially 64 prevented deaths and over 1000 life years saved.
The Viral Change™ approach was used to spread new behaviours, modelled by a relatively small critical mass of carefully-chosen change champions (MOD Health Staff). Contact between ‘infective’ and ‘receptive’ staff was carefully planned. Through unconsciously modelling the behaviour of others, imitations and new behaviours were spread ‘virally’ throughout the service/organisation, locality and county, and the new behaviour (referrals into the stop smoking service) soon became the norm.
Phoenix found this type of marketing approach to be resilient and very effective because it relies upon multiple mechanisms of 'infection'. Once the initial spread of change had started via the chosen MOD champions, then social ‘tipping points’ occurred by the simple existence of a ‘critical mass’ to be copied, not necessarily by the individual champion any more.
Using these new ways of marketing to raise awareness and attract people into smoking cessation who would not normally be engaged guaranteed that more MOD Staff and their families were offered the opportunity to access services.
Insights used to develop the marketing concepts were gained from meeting MOD health staff and asking them what they thought, and using this to develop the message.
The team found this also a great opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge about the psyche, beliefs and values of their target group: a good example was not to use words such as 'quit' or 'give up' as MOD staff are trained not to do either!
Phoenix have showcased this marketing approach at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference 2010 and the Phoenix manager has been invited to speak about smoking cessation, and why Lincolnshire has been successful, by Primary Care Live at their 2010 London and Manchester Conferences. The extension of this approach to other key challenges such as the National Chlamydia Screening Programme and weight management is now being explored.