THE Health Ministry will no longer use billboards for their Tak Nak anti-smoking campaign.
Its minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said research by the Government had shown that the use of billboards was the least effective method in bringing across the anti-smoking message and the most costly.
“Out of the 1,000 respondents we surveyed, only 3.5% were aware of the campaign via billboards. And from the RM20mil allocated for the campaign, we spent RM11mil on putting up these billboards.
“Billboards attract attention but the message doesn’t stick in people’s minds compared to channelling our message via the media, on which we only spent RM2.5mil.
“This means that we spent almost 55% on billboards but it did not bring about an desired result,” he told Mingguan Malaysia.
Consequently, the campaign failed to engage the participation of community leaders, said Dr Chua.
“If we were to relaunch the campaign, we won’t have the means to do it because all the money has gone to billboard companies,” he said, adding that the ministry, together with non-governmental organisations, would review the campaign in terms of implementation, objectives and emphasis over the next four years.
Dr Chua also dismissed speculation that the prices of cigarettes would be reduced once the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta) was implemented.
“We have a responsibility towards the health of the people. For their sake, we will keep our right to impose excise duties and others on cigarettes. With or without Afta, the price will continue to rise,” he said.
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