Quit Victoria releases its most emotional campaign yet as new data reveals what helps smokers to quit

Sunday 26 May, 2013

Anti-smoking campaigns are one of the most helpful aids in assisting former smokers to stay quit, new Cancer Council Victoria data has revealed.

Latest figures from the ‘What Helped to Quit' report showed more than a third (39.3%) of recent quitters said anti-smoking TV campaigns helped a ‘great deal or somewhat' in staying quit, second only to cigarette cost (47.1%).

Smokefree bans (36.1%), advice from health professionals (30.9%) and graphic health warnings (25.9%) were also powerful motivators to kick the habit for good.

The findings come as Quit Victoria unveils its newest anti-smoking campaign Last Dance, which depicts a man dying of a smoking-caused disease during a tender moment with his wife as she cares for him during the final stages of his illness.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said the campaign packed an emotional punch but reflected the fact that one in two long-term smokers would die of a smoking-caused disease.

Half of those would die in middle age, at a time when many people still have children living at home.

"With almost 4000 Victorians dying each year due to smoking, this is a scene that is being played out in lounge rooms across the state," she said.

"This campaign is a powerful reminder for smokers that your smoking doesn't just affect you. It affects your family too.

"But what will be doesn't have to be. You can quit today and avoid the devastating consequences of leaving it too late to quit."

Catherine Cridland, who lost both parents to smoking-caused disease, said she wanted smokers to think about the grief they would cause their families if they continued to smoke.

"My parents won't be there to see me walk down the aisle. Sometimes, something amazing will happen and I'll go to ring my mum and I remember that I can't call her," she said.

"Smoking has robbed me of my parents. Don't let it rob your loved ones of you."

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper recognised the campaign was confronting but said so was the fact 37 Victorians died each week from lung cancer.

"If we can convince even one Victorian to quit and to spare their families the grief of losing a loved-one to a smoking, we will consider this campaign a success," Mr Harper said.

One in five cancer deaths are caused by smoking. This means much of Victoria's cancer suffering is preventable.

"We're committed to the fight against cancer and to making these hard-hitting campaigns which we know help to reduce the incidence of smoking-caused disease" he said.

Minister for Health David Davis said the Victorian Coalition Government was committed to improving the health of all Victorians and had provided Quit Victoria with an additional $1 million for the ‘Last Dance' TV advertising campaign.

"In total, our government is investing $9.2 million in 2012/2013 in tobacco control to support quit smoking programs, anti-smoking advertising and education and enforcement activities," Mr Davis said.

"The continuing decline in smoking shows that the State's investment in tobacco control is paying dividends in reducing the harm caused by tobacco."

About the research

The 2011 Victorian Smoking and Health survey, conducted by the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, examined the perceived influence of media, smoke-free policies, quitting aids and other support services on successful smoking cessation by asking recent Victorian quitters whether various aids and services had helped them stay quit.

In this report, recent quitters were those respondents who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and had stopped smoking at any time during the last five years.

The Last Dance campaign can be viewed at www.youtube.com.au/quitvic.

Updated: 26 May, 2013