News & Comment

Stoptober: Facebook ads a "waste of public money"

Tue 13th September, 2016

Forest has criticised the use of taxpayers' money to promote an anti-smoking campaign on Facebook.

Public Health England, a quango funded by the Department of Health, is to spend £1m on Facebook advertising during 'Stoptober' to try and encourage people to quit smoking.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: "This is a waste of taxpayer's money. Quit smoking campaigns like Stoptober are increasingly ineffective because smokers are fed up being nagged and cajoled by government and other publicly-funded bodies.
 
"Last year the number of people joining Stoptober fell by 15 per cent compared to 2014. This happened despite the fact that Public Health England paid a total of £195,000 to four high profile comedians to support the campaign.
 
"Having failed with that initiative PHE is now spending even more money to promote the campaign on Facebook. It's crazy."
 
The reduction in the number of people joining Stoptober in 2015 followed a 51 per cent fall in the number of people using stop smoking services nationally since 2010/11.
 
Clark added:
 
"The government should review its quit smoking strategy because it's clear that stop smoking services and campaigns like Stoptober are producing diminishing returns.
 
"At a time when resources are very tight we can ill afford public money to be spent like this."
 
Notes:
1. Fewer people joined Stoptober smoking challenge (30th October 2015)
http://www.webmd.boots.com/smoking-cessation/news/20151030/fewer-people-joined-stoptober-smoking-challenge
 
2. Anti-cuts comics accused of hypocrisy for accepting thousands in taxpayer's cash to front 'nanny-state' health and safety adverts (14 February 2016)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3446132/Anti-cuts-comics-accused-hypocrisy-accepting-thousands-taxpayer-s-cash-nanny-state-health-safety-adverts.html#ixzz4K7zKZmjB
 
3. Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England (HSCIC)

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