SPOKANE, Wash. – The campaign against smoking is old news. If a doctor hasn’t warned you, it’s likely you’ve seen an ad on television, or online, that shows former smokers with serious health complications from smoking.
But a part of smoking culture is rebellion. Government warnings meant to scare smokers into quitting don’t always work.
“People don’t want to be told to quit, they just want to be shown how to quit. and they want to do it however works for them,” said Paige McGowan with the Spokane Regional Health District.
McGowan is SRHD’s coordinator for Tobacco, Vaping Device and Marijuana Prevention programs.
With help from CHAS, she and SRHD have launched a new anti-smoking campaign called Done My Way, that aims to fight a national issue by focusing locally.
:”When we tested these messages on people who live in Spokane, we heard that they don’t really want to hear just doom and gloom, they also want to hear ‘what’s out there for me after I quit smoking,” McGowan said.
A series of videos on the campaign’s website highlights former smokers from Spokane, and their stories of struggle, motivation, and perseverance.
McGowan said Done My Way is geared toward all smokers in Spokane, but especially the Native American, African-American and LGBT communities.
“Those are our target audiences because they have disproportionately higher smoking rates,” McGowan said.
She attributes that to a number of different factors, including socioeconomic status and location within Spokane County.
The campaign also provides resource guidelines and methods to quit smoking, ranked by effectiveness.
“The best way to quit smoking is to use a combination of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, we just call it NRT, and some sort of counseling,” McGowan said.
But, SRHD realizes that people will quit in the way that works best for them, hence the campaign’s name.
So they outline all available resources, explaining where and when the programs are, and how much they’ll cost.
They can’t force smokers to quit, but for those who want to, SRHD and CHAS hope this program will make it easier.
“Hearing from people who have quit that are just like them, and how they did it is what resonated most with them,” McGowan said.
About 15% of people in Spokane County still smoke. Done My Way’s goal? 0%.
“It might be a lofty goal, but this campaign is the start of us really starting to tackle tobacco,” McGowan said.