Read about how we developed a social marketing plan to reduce rates of smoking amongst pregnant women in Kent.

The Problem​

The risks of smoking during pregnancy are numerous and severe, including increased chances of birth defects, miscarriage and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The Kent Health & Wellbeing Board identified the need for a social marketing programme in parts of the county where up to 20% of women smoke during pregnancy compared to a national average of 12%.


What We Did


We conducted extensive research with this hard-to-reach audience in a sensitive and non-judgemental way. We strove to understand the reasons why they smoke during pregnancy, the barriers they face in giving up and the factors that would motivate them to quit.


We demonstrated that pregnant mothers who smoke face a range of barriers to quitting and have many different motivations for giving up. As a result, there is no 'one-fits-all' solution and different interventions are required for the different audience segments we identified.


We identified the audience segments that were most likely to be respond to a social marketing programme. For each of these segments we developed and tested a range of innovative interventions using a mix of methods involving education and support.

What Our Clients Say

  • "The NSMC plays a crucial role in raising the standard of social marketing in public health in the UK and abroad."

    Fiona Adshead

    Dr Fiona Adshead

    Formerly of WHO and Deputy Chief Medical Officer of England

What We Achieved

We have prepared a detailed social marketing plan which will allow the client to easily implement the project when funding becomes available. Trials and feedback sessions with the target audience strongly suggest that the proposed interventions will result in a significant decrease in the number of pregnant smokers.

Our trials show that one of the most powerful ways of reducing smoking rates will be to provide pregnant mothers with high quality three dimensional scans of their unborn babies. These scans will help the mothers to bond with their unborn children and encourage them to protect them from the effects of smoking.