With cigarette smoking rates declining but shisha smoking rates on the increase, Enfield Council sought our help to better understand the prevalence and behaviour of shisha smoking. Given that shisha smoking can actually be far more harmful than conventional tobacco smoking, they wanted us to to recommend a social marketing campaign to tackle the issue.
How we approached it
Through innovative research techniques, including the use of community researchers (those hired from within the existing community), we were able to uncover the realities of shisha smoking in at-risk communities. We unearthed markedly different behaviours and attitudes towards shisha compared to cigarettes.
Based on our insight, we felt that this was an unusual area where a lack of basic information was part of the problem. We recommended an intervention that sought to deter young people from smoking cigarettes and shisha, focusing on raising awareness of the its harmful effects.
We also suggested a key need for for the campaign to be spearheaded by those people in at-risk communities (Turkish or Kurdish for example), so that it was personalised, localised and led from within the community.