Smoking Cessation Research

Business challenge

Our client needed research that would provide an in-depth understanding of the drivers and barriers to smoking cessation in the UK in order to guide more effective stop-smoking support in the future.

What we did

We conducted focus groups and telephone interviews with a wide range of stakeholders to build a holistic view of the drivers and barriers to smoking cessation. These stakeholders included influencers such as healthcare professionals, retailers and stop-smoking advisors, as well as consumer groups such as current smokers, current vapers, ex-smokers, smokers with mental health issues, and women who smoked while pregnant.


Our team drew insights from each consumer and influencer group individually using the scientifically validated COM-B behaviour change model as a theoretical framework. This approach allowed us to uncover key instances of where capability, opportunity or motivation were inhibiting behaviour change for each stakeholder group.

While analyzing our data within this framework we were also able to identify the key psychological processes (heuristics) which either discouraged smokers from quitting (such as loss aversion or future discounting), or kept them smoking (such as optimism bias, confirmation bias and social norms). Together our suggested behaviour change techniques from the COM-B model, and our mapping of key heuristics at play, allowed us to advise our client on actionable strategies that could result in positive behavioural change.


Our research won the prestigious Keith Munro award at the BOBI Awards in 2021 – recognised by the BHBIA as the best paper of the conference that year. See below for the talk that won the award for us!