Top smoking triggers revealed as Quit launches new animated campaign

Sunday 24 August, 2014

Quit Victoria has launched a ground-breaking new campaign to assist smokers to recognise and effectively respond to, the impulse to smoke.

Triggers represents a new frontier for anti-smoking campaigns – being Quit Victoria’s first ever animated anti-smoking campaign about how to quit for good.

The campaign encourages smokers to think about their particular smoking triggers and how developing a better understanding of these influences could be the key to staying quit.

New Cancer Council Victoria data found:

  • Women were more likely than men to identify stress (83% vs 74%) and phone calls (30% vs 18%) as a smoking trigger;
  • Men are significantly more likely than women to report that work breaks triggered their smoking (66% vs 52%);
  • Smokers planning to quit in the next month (87%) were significantly more likely to identify stress as a trigger compared to smokers not planning to quit in the next month (77%); and
  • Smokers who had made 2-3 (79%) or more than four (79%) quit attempts were also significantly more likely to state that parties or nights out triggered smoking compared to smokers who had made no previous quit attempts (65%).

Quit Victoria Acting Director, Craig Sinclair, said many smokers struggled to stay quit in the face of common triggers like stress or socialising with friends.

“Research has shown that most smokers don’t want to smoke but lack the confidence, self-awareness and skills to quit successfully,” Mr Sinclair said.

“We know a significant majority (84%) of Victorian smokers have tried to quit at least once, while over half (52.7%) have tried to quit multiple times.1

“We hope this campaign will encourage smokers who might have made several unsuccessful quit attempts to consider preparing next time around by thinking about their smoking triggers and strategies for avoiding or better dealing with them.”

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, said the Triggers campaign highlights the challenges involved in quitting smoking.

“A smoker will try to quit eight times on average before finally succeeding, so this campaign recognises that relapse is a serious issue for smokers,” Mr Harper said.

“We hope Triggers will inspire smokers to think about quitting in a different way. Our advice to smokers is to think about your past quit attempts and the triggers that may have tripped you up.

“Was it stress, socialising on a night out or having coffee with friends? Before you try again, take a moment to think about what you could do to avoid smoking in these types of situations.”

Mr Sinclair said while the campaign marks a different approach for Quit, it does not signal the end of graphic or negative emotion ads.

"Research has shown that graphic and negative emotion ads have been influential in driving down smoking rates and they will continue to feature in future campaigns,” he said.

“However, we also know that smokers need to be supported and positively encouraged in their efforts to quit. This campaign does just that.”

Top smoking triggersmale and female

(% of current smokers and recent quitters who identified the below as triggers)

  1. Being around friends who smoke (80%)
  2. Stress (78%)
  3. Parties/nights out (76%)
  4. After eating a meal (69%)
  5. Work breaks (60%)
  6. Coffee (45%)
  7. Driving (41%)
  8. Telephone calls (23%)

About the research:

This data was collected as part of the 2014 Victorian Social Marketing Tracking Survey conducted by the Behavioural Science Division at Cancer Council Victoria.

1. Quitting intentions and behaviours 1999 – 2012, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer – Meghan Zacher; Sarah Durkin, p.6

Updated: 24 Aug, 2014