Tobacco smoking is a significant public health problem in Saudi Arabia (SA) (Menezes, Hussain & Madadin, 2015). It is a leading cause of lung-related medical complications such as lung cancer and chronic bronchitis (Stewart et al., 2017). Ministry of Health (MOH) put numerous efforts such as anti-smoking awareness campaigns to reduce smoking threats in Saudi population (Menezes, Hussain & Madadin 2015). The situation continues to persist despite many media anti-smoking campaigns. So, MOH established a comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (TCP) which has all important resources that public need. This paper describes an anti-smoking promotional video by TCP, its effectiveness, recommendations of improvements, the entity sponsoring this promotion and the entity’s responsibilities.
Anti-Smoking Promotional Video
It is showing a person who chained his leg in a dark room filled with smoked cigarettes. He wrapped himself with white piece of cloth and poured gasoline on his body. Then, he sat fire on himself. The note on the end “don’t burn yourself by smoking” summarizes the whole purpose of this promotion (TCP, 2014). It shows a powerful message that represents a person who smokes cigarettes as burning him/her self.
The Effectiveness of The Anti-Smoking Promotional Video
Usually, adverts seek to enlighten people to improve their awareness and most times sell a company’s product. However, this promotional video is significant and simple in its construction to send a clear message to the public about the consequences of smoking cigarettes with no intension to sell a company’s product. Firstly, it is interesting to watch in a way that you don’t blink eyes. Secondly, it opens your eyes on a small thing that will lead to a fatal end if not controlled which is the habit of smoking. It shows clearly how isolated and lonely a person will be if he/she smokes. Lastly, it is an important reminder to all smokers to see how a person can simply kill him/herself by smoking. Also, it is a wake-up call to those who think of smoking cigarettes. Looking at the consequences and the damage caused by smoking in this promotional video will guide people and help them to quit this deadly habit. The note “don’t burn youself” is a good idea to emphesize on the need of smoking cessation. Apparently amidst the several bans and increase prices of smoking cigarettes, smoking still find its way into the population (Al-Mohrej, AlTraif, Tamim & Fakhoury, 2014). Therefore, this promotional video explains the consequences of smoking which include financial, emotional and health impacts that lead to many deaths in the country (Jha & Peto, 2014). Especially, the concern of how many deaths and health complications that could be prevented. Through this promtional video, the community can clearly understand the need of smoking cessation and its impact on health (Rosen, 2015).
Recommendations of improvements. As much as this promotional video adequately conveys its preferred message, there are a few flaws that could be misread and entirely misinterpreted. Initially, it can be improved in its contents to include statistics and information that can be clearly displayed. Moreover, it is considered a terrifying video which is not suitable for the public to watch especially those who are younger than 18 years old. A section of the population can directly misinterpret the sarcasm of the burning scene and the “don’t burn yourself” part, to cover their desires and interests. Furthermore, it is full of negative ideas like loneliness, darkness, hopelessness, being chained in prison and burning self. These negative ideas can cause emotional disturbances to some people and misunderstanding of the main purpose. However, the producer of this promotional video can improve the background, contents, sounds, displaying messages and change the burnning scene into a burned plant. Similarly, they can choose a different note to be displayed which does not involve burning self. Changing the letter “b” to letter “t” in the word burn would make a difference. Another adjustment can be made to display the note as “don’t turn yourself into a smoker” instead of “don’t burn yourself by smoking”. The promotional video would still warn people about smoking and still show the importance of smoking cessation. Percy and Elliott (2016), identified that a good advert should always be simple and has a meaningful value. The aim of the advert is to send an awareness message to the public. This would ensure that the population can associate the promtional video with its purpose, unlike the burning scene where the population can get confused trying to derive meaning.
Sponsoring Entity and its Responsibilities
The sponsoring entity of this anti-smoking promotional video is TCP which is supervised by MOH. It was established on 2002 as per a royal decree of anti-smoking royal low. It aims to take all important measures to fight smoking in all its forms and to control the habit of smoking among individuals and the community (MOH, 2017; TCP, 2014). The vision of TCP is to develop distinct behaviors in order to reduce tobacco use and create a healthy society which supports 2030 Saudi vision (Saudi Vision 2030, 2016: MOH, 2017). TCP is a comprehensive government-sponsored program that creates guidelines, regulations, policies and strategies for tobacco control and presents preventive and curative methods to curb the spread of this deadly habit among all segments of society in Saudi Arabia (MOH, 2017). MOH makes use of a wide range of distinctive teams from national and international committees to achieve this goal.
TCP contains 20 articles as defined by royal decree which include smoking definition, manufacturing, tax increase, prohibition and penalties (TCP, 2014). TCP has a comprehensive database which has all the needed resources to quit smoking. Some of the helpful resources available in TCP website are library, news, competitions, electronic program, anti-smoking campaigns, awareness posts, booking appointments in smoking cessation clinics and nicotine dependence test (TCP, 2014). It offers medical consultation and free treatments in every tobacco control clinic around the country to help the public to quit smoking. TCP provides anti-smoking booklets in different subjects such as passive smoking, electronic cigarettes, contents of cigarettes, hookah, facts of smoking, anti-smoking clinics, statistics of smoking and process of quitting smoking (TCP, 2014).
MOH established a comprehensive anti-smoking program which has all important resources that public need. One of the effective anti-smoking promotions is a video made by TCP and supervised by MOH. The video has its strength and also its flaws. Certain improvements can be made in the contents and construction of the video. An effective anti-smoking promotional video can positively affect population health through behavioral changes (Brennan, Durkin, Wakefield & Kashima, 2016). The effectiveness of anti-smoking mass media campaigns is shown to control tobacco smoking and reduce overall smoking prevalence (Purcell, O’Rourke & Rivis, 2015).
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