Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Changing attitudes, improving lives

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 07 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1026

Rapid Response:

Re: Changing attitudes, improving lives

We found an interesting contrast between the difficulties in the uptake of palliative care services and the worrying appeal of vaping in teenagers in the US[1]. The latter being a habit which is clearly harmful compared with services which aim to improve the quality of life of patients. It is clear that influencing people's perceptions can have a huge impact on their behaviour.
It seems that the blunt marketing techniques used by Juul regarding the harmful nature of their product, and their statement that 'no young person should ever try our product' are actually working in their favour and probably in fact making it all the more appealing for young people because of their perceptions of what is 'cool'. This is no doubt the result of some very clever branding strategies which may be worth exploring to help solve the branding problem and negative perceptions associated with palliative care services. If advertisers can sell death so easily then surely, with similar marketing expertise, services to improve quality of life should be an easy sell. Perhaps the solution could be to consult branding and marketing experts such as these to develop strategies to change perceptions of patients and relatives when it comes to palliative care services.

1. BMJ 2019;364:l979

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 March 2019
Sara As-Sultany
ST5 anaesthesia
Mark Davies, consultant in anaesthesia & perioperative medicine
Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Liverpool L7 8XP