Smoking Prevention

Using an Asset-based Approach and An Innovative Methodology to Evaluate Smoking Awareness Campaigns in Fife Schools (2014)
(Funded by NHS Fife)

This project applied the principles of asset-based approaches and co-production to explore the impact of health education and promotion programmes in primary and secondary schools in Fife. In particular, it assessed two interventions used to reduce the uptake of smoking:

  1. Smoke Free Class (S1 competition), which aimed to delay or prevent the onset of smoking; prevent young people who were experimenting with tobacco becoming regular smokers; and de-normalise smoking and promote a 'smoke-free' message.
  2. Smoke Factor (Primary 5/6, 6 and 7 intervention), which was an evidence based tobacco education initiative designed to compliment the 'Curriculum for Excellence'.

An innovative methodology was used so pupils could engage through co-produced radio news quizzes, factual programmes and dramas.

ISM Staff: Marisa de Andrade

de Andrade M, Angus K and Hastings G (2015 Online). Teenage perceptions of electronic cigarettes in Scottish tobacco-education school interventions: co-production and innovative engagement through a pop-up radio project. Perspectives in Public Health, online 5th November. doi:10.1177/1757913915612109


A Process Evaluation of the Implementation of ASSIST Scotland (2014-2017)
(Funded by Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO))

What is ASSIST?

ASSIST (A Stop Smoking in Schools Trial) is a school based programme to prevent smoking in young people aged 12-13. It works by training students to become ‘peer supporters’ who then talk to their friends about the risk of smoking and the benefits of not smoking. ASSIST has been evaluated by a randomised controlled trial funded by the Medical Research Council. The trial found ASSIST to be effective in reducing weekly smoking prevalence over a two year period (odds ratio, 0.78 (95% CI: 0.64-0.96), as well as reducing smoking frequency among pupils who had ever smoked before. Based on a 21.7% prevalence of weekly smoking in the control group at 2-year follow-up, this effect, adjusted for baseline differences and other potential confounders was equivalent to a reduction in prevalence of 10% (Campbell et al, 2008).

What’s the point of the process evaluation? 

ASSIST has been delivered in several schools in England and Wales but none in Scotland. The Scottish Government committed to support a pilot of ASSIST in Scotland as part of their Tobacco Control Strategy. As noted above, ASSIST is already an evidence-based programme, so the purpose of this research was to evaluate the implementation rather than the effectiveness of the newly funded ASSIST in Scotland. The results from this study will be used to ensure that the necessary structures and relationships are in place if the scheme is extended to ensure any effects are as large as possible and sustained.

What does the evaluation involve?

The process evaluation was conducted over two and a half years with a sample of 20 schools. The research design was mixed method and consisted of three elements: 1) evaluating the implementation planning process; 2) evaluating delivery in schools and; 3) documentary review and assessment of costs. A range of stakeholders (school staff, trainers; people who work in health and education and students) were consulted via in-depth interviews, paired interviews, mini focus groups and observation along with a before and after survey to gather data from students.

ISM Staff: Linda Bauld, Fiona Dobbie and Richard Purves

Final Report
Research Findings


Preventing Uptake of Smoking in School-aged Children (2013-2016)
(Funded by the National Institute for Health Research)

Cigarette smoking is the biggest preventable cause of illness and death in the UK. Most smokers start smoking when they are still at secondary school. Smokers who start at this early age are less likely to quit and more likely to be affected by smoking-related illness during their lives. It is therefore important to try to prevent children taking up smoking. Following a period of development work we trialled a smoking prevention package which combined educational resources for use in schools with materials for use with children’s families or caregivers to reinforce the anti-smoking message.

The project was run by researchers at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with ourselves, University of Birmingham, University of York, King’s College London, and Kick It, the Hammersmith and Fulham Stop Smoking Service.

ISM Staff: Linda Bauld 


A Review of Young People and Smoking in England (2008-2009) 
(Funded by the Public Health Research Consortium) 

The aim of this project was to produce a report which outlined and reviewed the evidence base on young people (11-24 years) and smoking, particularly in relation to smoking prevention, in order to help inform the Department of Health's consultation process and subsequent policy development. It addressed three key questions: What are the current patterns and trends in smoking in young people in England by key socio-demographic variables?; What is known about why young people start and continue to smoke?; What is the current tobacco control policy context and future policy options on smoking prevention and cessation for young people in England and their likely effectiveness? The project collected and reviewed relevant information primarily from national surveys and recent national and international reviews. Towards the end of the project an expert workshop brought together around 20 experts in young people and smoking to consider the draft report, identify any significant gaps in the research review and consider the evidence on the likely effectiveness of future policy options.

Reports available:

CTCR Staff: Gerard Hastings and Kathryn Angus


HELP Campaign (2005-2010) 
(Funded by Ligaris/LBC Consortium, European Commission) 

"Help - for a life without tobacco" is one of the largest public health awareness-raising initiatives in the world and was launched in 2005 by the European Commission in the fight against smoking. It is a large media campaign aimed at encouraging young people in EU countries to resist smoking. Addressing the key issues of prevention, passive smoking and cessation, Help employs an integrated approach targeting Europeans between the age of 15 and 34 years through national media, television and web-based campaigns.

CTCR Staff: Gerard Hastings, Laura McDermott (left 2008), Louise Hassan (left 2007), Joanne Freeman (left 2008) and Gayle Tait (left 2009) 

Walsh G, Shiu E and Hassan LM (2014). Cross-national advertising and behavioural intentions: A multilevel analysis. Journal of International Marketing, 22(1): 77-97.

Hassan LM, Shiu E, Walsh G and Hastings G (2010). HELP - for a life without tobacco: A case study on demarketing across two levels. Marketing, Intelligence and Planning, 27(4): 486-502.

Hassan L, Walsh G, Shiu E, Hastings G, Harris F (2007). Modeling persuasion in social advertising: A study of responsible thinking in antismoking promotion in eight Eastern EU member states. Journal of Advertising, 36(2): 13-28.

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