Public health issue
The public health issue chosen is smoking. The use of tobacco is still widespread in society, despite efforts to make it more expensive and difficult to purchase tobacco products. Extensive health documentation and public news information detail the massive health issues of smoking (The Heart Association, 2017), but yet people continue to smoke, and new smokers are stating the habit everyday (Forey et al, 2016). It is an issue that is a huge drain of £5bn per year on the country’s healthcare system (Allender et al, 2009), as well as causing large amounts of unnecessary illnesses and deaths each year (Cancer Research UK, 2017; World Lung Foundation, 2016). More quantity and higher quality of education on the topic is needed, as well as information on getting help and support to quit smoking.
The target group for this leaflet is the portion of the population that uses tobacco products, and currently wants to quit, or has thought about quitting in the past. The age group targetted by the leaflet is all-encompassing, as some smokers start the habit very young (Prokhorov et al, 2006). The smoking demographic is different that other health issues, as it covers all ethnic, social and geographical groups, and is purely based on the fact that the nation can be divided into two groups; smokers and non-smokers. Some knowledge of the health problems are assumed, due to the fact that they are issued on every packet of cigarettes sold (Willemson, 2005). The leaflet assumes no experience in the act of quitting, as some smokers may never have thought of quitting, and may also be ignorant or unwilling to research the health problems.
Commentary on the process of leaflet development
The leaflet took around eight to complete fully, with most time spent on researching accurate facts to convey to the public. The leaflet was designed in a tri-fold format, with an emphasis on the dangers of smoking, and the benefits of quitting on the health and finances of the individual. Each website included in the leaflet was researched for its information base, accuracy and effectiveness in helping a smoker to quit. The initial design was deemed to be too informal, so informality was limited to brief encouraging phrases at the end of important facts and information. Shocking – but appropriate – images were chosen to accompany the information, with no graphic images, such as those seen on cigarette packets, chosen for the final design.
The effectiveness of the leaflet is based around educating and re-educating smokers. Most smokers know that what they are doing is unhealthy, but the extent of their knowledge differs. The leaflet is designed to show the worst parts of the habit due to the text limitations of the leaflet format, and also to provide links to further sources of information for the reader to use to gain further insights. It is important to provide an incentive to quit, other than health. The benefit of saving money was used in this case, as it was determined that the monetary incentive may be enough to push many people who are on the verge of quitting to make the first step (L.L, 2000). Leaflets themselves are more effective when paired with another means of intervention, such as online support or an SMS support service (Naughton et al, 2009). Leaflets on stopping smoking have been determine to have the same effectiveness as brief advice from a doctor or internet source, but they are better than nothing. Other methods to be paired with the leaflet to improve the effectiveness could include: codes for stop smoking materials such as nicotine gum or patches; and advice on local stop smoking clinics where structured support and advice from nurses and doctors could be applied (Lancaster et al, 2009).
What sources did you draw on for information and inspiration?
A variety of sources were used to gain the information used in the leaflet. The primary source was the NHS website on smoking, which was deemed to be the most reliable source of information. Many of the facts and figures were taken from this website, as well as the CDC and American Government websites on quitting smoking. Other websites based on quitting smoking were also used for information, as they provide a more personal insight, with tributes from successful quitters, and ideas on how to link the information to incentives to quit. Inspiration for the leaflet was gleaned from various sources, including a number of existing quit smoking leaflets, which seem to focus on the negatives of smoking. Overall, the biggest source of inspiration was the website smokefree.gov (2017), which was found to have the greatest balance of warning, incentive and support available. The aim of the leaflet was to condense this website and maintain the theme of equal information and support. Overall, the biggest source of inspiration was the website smokefree.gov, which was found to have the greatest balance of warning, incentive and support available.
What were your guiding considerations in relation to design?
It was deemed important to add a positive aspect to the leaflet, as smokers see negative images and information on every cigarette pack, and they have had a limited effect (Hammond et al, 2013). The aim of the leaflet was to condense this website and maintain the theme of equal information and support. The guiding considerations given to me helped to shape the overall design of the leaflet to focus on important statistics that smokers may not have seen, or may be unaware of, such as the worldwide statistics, and the actual chemicals that are in cigarettes. It was considered that graphic images may be unnecessary in the leaflet, as these are already widely seen by smokers, and that simple images implying the health and monetary impacts of smoking would be most effective and attention-grabbing.
How do you evaluate your completed leaflet?
Overall, the leaflet is strongly worded, concise and readable by the target group. The amount of information included is suitable for the format, and the outside sources of information provided are helpful, easy to follow and applicable to the heath topic. The design of the leaflet is professional, with suitable negative imagery to make smokers think twice about their habit. The statistics, facts and figured provided in the leaflet are eye-opening, and have the effect of informing and shocking the target group into acting on the thought of quitting.
- Allender, S., Balakrishnan, R., Scarborough, P., Webster, P. and Rayner, M., 2009. The burden of smoking-related ill health in the UK. Tobacco control, 18(4), pp.262-267.
- Cancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/tobacco#heading-Six, Accessed 03/11.
- Forey, B., Hamling, J., Hamling, J., Thornton, A. and Lee, P., 2016. International Smoking Statistics. Methods from Smoking, L.L., 2000. A ‘stages of change’ approach to helping patients change behavior. Am Fam Physician, 61(5), pp.1409-1416.
- Hammond, D., Daniel, S. and White, C.M., 2013. The effect of cigarette branding and plain packaging on female youth in the United Kingdom. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52(2), pp.151-157.
- Lancaster, T., Stead, L., Silagy, C. and Sowden, A., 2000. Effectiveness of interventions to help people stop smoking: findings from the Cochrane Library. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 321(7257), p.355.
- Naughton, F., Prevost, A.T., Gilbert, H. and Sutton, S., 2012. Randomized controlled trial evaluation of a tailored leaflet and SMS text message self-help intervention for pregnant smokers (MiQuit). Nicotine & Tobacco Research, p.ntr254.
- Prokhorov, A.V., Winickoff, J.P., Ahluwalia, J.S., Ossip-Klein, D., Tanski, S., Lando, H.A., Moolchan, E.T., Muramoto, M., Klein, J.D., Weitzman, M. and Ford, K.H., 2006. Youth tobacco use: a global perspective for child health care clinicians. Pediatrics, 118(3), pp.e890-e903.
- Smokefree.gov. (2017). Home. [online] Available at: https://www.smokefree.gov/.
- The Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/QuitSmoking/QuittingSmoking/Smoking-Do-you-really-know-the-risks_UCM_322718_Article.jsp#.WMRXrjsrK1s Accessed March 2014.
- Willemsen, M.C., 2005. The new EU cigarette health warnings benefit smokers who want to quit the habit: results from the Dutch Continuous Survey of Smoking Habits. The European Journal of Public Health, 15(4), pp.389-392.
- World Lung Foundation/American Cancer Society. 2016. The Tobacco Atlas. Available from: http://www.tobaccoatlas.org.