Research type 
Desk research
Year of report 

Summary of findings


National context:

Target profile nationally are:

  • Heavier, more addicted smokers who are most likely to have started before age 16.
  • Likely to have lower self-confidence.
  • Peer pressure to smoke.
  • More likely to opt for ‘cold turkey’

Literature review  identified:

  • Long-standing engagement issues and health gaps (men less likely to visit GP etc.)
  • This group perceive services as inconvenient / inflexible, and fear failure / being judged.
  • They requite a more personal, tailored and flexible approach to increase engagement
  • BUT they are as motivated to quit as others – with the right approach
  • Literature review summarised that it was unsurprising that this cohort have not accessed services in great numbers.

Best practice:

Desk research suggested that the most effective national campaign is the testimonials approach (e.g. young mum & impact of smoking on her daughter). It also suggested peer recruitment by successful service users has been noted as effective, and that advertising in local media networks is essential.

Examples of best practice ideas are presented.

Insight findings:

Prior to the research they suggest that service knowledge is reasonable. However, it states that there is a lack of understanding of the key benefits of the service, a dislike of the style of support on offer, and a fear of failure and of being judged.

This research identified barriers, such as higher than average levels of alcohol consumption and cannabis use, which impacted on tobacco use / cessation success. Also, high prevalence of smoking within this group is the norm.

Drivers were identified, including campaigns which made reference to the family, and particularly fatherhood. Also, health and fitness benefits.

Stakeholder consultation revealed issues such as low knowledge of the target group, lack of optimism in helping them, lack of information / tailored support for this group.

Family / friends consultation revealed issues such as friends and family being the key barrier.

The target audience is summarised as unempowered, unmotivated, over confident, hedonistic, short-term thinking and numb to shock tactics (etc).

A segmentation of the target is presented.

Service improvements:

Improvements are suggested, including an individualised approach for this group. One-to-one treatment (not group sessions) is preferred, and peer-to-peer outreach will be most successful, they believe. Also, localised services and flexible follow-up. Ideas for new approaches to services provision are suggested.

Marketing recommendations:

Recommendations are presented by segment and by marketing channel.

Potential messages / creative ideas are proposed, plus ideas for measuring success.

Finally, lessons learnt are outlined and  recommendations for future insight work.

Research objectives

  • Explore the distinct needs, attitudes and behaviours of the target group, and barriers and motivators to their accessing of services.
  • Identify current gaps in service provision.
  • Make recommendations on the future develop of smoking cessation services in Sheffield, and specifically:
  • Recommend a plan for a successful and sustainable local social marketing strategy, responsive to client needs.



Smoking is known to be the principal avoidable cause of premature deaths in the UK. The Government has set up a nationwide NHS Stop Smoking Service available across the NHS in England and this now forms a key part of their tobacco control strategy.

These services were launched in Health Action Zones in 1999 and were set up in all Health Authorities in England by 2001. They provide and support the use of stop smoking aids.

However, whilst Stop Smoking Services have been successful in helping a proportion of the general population to quit there are still marked differences in quit rates between socio-economic groups.

This local work was commissioned following the national DH social marketing campaign targeting manual and routine workers.

The main aim of the insight work was to inform the future development of the Sheffield Stop Smoking Service. It was intended that these findings would then be used to inform a social marketing campaign tailored to the needs of the target audience.

Quick summary


Social marketing insight research to inform the future development of the Sheffield Stop Smoking Service to make it more accessible to male smokers aged 18-25 who are manual and routine workers.

Audience Summary





Not specified



Male smokers were aged 18-25. Ages of stakeholders, friends, family and peers not specified.

Social Class


Not specified. (Working status specified as manual and routine workers)



  1. Desk-based research, including local and national documentation, policies and strategies, and previous campaigns.
  2. Focus groups involving 31 young male adult smokers aged 18-25. Some to have had experience of using local Stop Smoking Services.
  3. Telephone interviews with 8 stakeholders and health care providers from Stop Smoking Services.
  4. Telephone interviews with 14 people who may influence the male smokers, including friends, family members and peers.
  5. Telephone interviews with 5 clients who had used Stop Smoking Services.
  6. Telephone interviews with 15 male smokers aged 18-25 who are manual and routine workers.

Data collection methodology

Depth interviews
Focus groups
Textual/documentary analysis

Sample size

  • 31 respondents were involved in the focus groups
  • 42 respondents were involved in the telephone interviews (of which 8 were health professionals, and  14 were family, friends and peers

Detailed region



Fieldwork dates


February to April 2009

Agree to publish



Research agency

Hey Moscow