Cow Pat Bingo Encourages Quit Smoking Attempts

Press Release – Public Health Association

Cow Pat Bingo And Other Initiatives Encourage Quit Smoking Attempts

In a morning parallel session Dr Grace Wong from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) said recent research shows Maori and Pasifika smokers face barriers to quit support in when participating in community care not faced by some other New Zealanders.

She said brief interventions (known as ABCs), where doctors and nurses ask patients about their smoking and encourage them to quit with support, are effective at motivating people to stop smoking, but that these are too often seen by health professionals as a box-ticking exercise.

“Primary care professionals usually only have a short time with patients so opportunities to engage over things like smoking are brief and this is particularly so for Maori or Pasifika where there are often cultural or communication issues involved,” Dr Wong said.

The AUT and Massey University research, conducted in five community clinics during 2015 and 2016, looked at ways of enhancing the brief smoking interventions with humour. They introduced Cow Pat Bingo, a game where a cow is placed in a field which has been marked with numbered squares. People given quit smoking advice could buy numbered tickets and win if their ticket number matched the square the cow dropped its first pat on. Novelty scratch cards to win online prizes and a $1000 prize draw people could enter after one-month smokefree were also used.

Dr Wong said interventions like these often worked because they provide novel and engaging twists on standard quit smoking advice delivery for both nurses and smokers.

“It’s important to take a variety of approaches. The Cow Pat Bingo concept appealed to Maori but not Pasifika youth and adults, so we minimised this while retaining the appealing rural imagery and online quit-and-win components of the intervention.”

She said while the study did not indicate potential for triggering mass quitting, it’s authors did recommend novel interventions because they reduce dependency and engage Maori, Pasifika and first-time quitters.
ENDS

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