UNLIKE The Artist, Blaenau Gwent health project worker Scott Carey’s new silent film will not win any Oscars – but he hopes it will be a success in promoting a new smoking ban message.
On March 14, No Smoking Day, smoking will be banned in the grounds of the Royal Gwent, St Woolos and Nevill Hall Hospitals, following earlier bans at other hospital sites in Gwent.
Mr Carey’s three-minute film, inspired by the multi- Oscar-winning French film starring Jean Dujardin, features characters including a patient, a visitor and a doctor whose attempts to light up on hospital grounds are foiled or frustrated.
The film ends with a final character lighting a cigarette on the pavement outside the hospital grounds – but this too ends in failure, with a comic touch and a message about the support available for those considering trying to kick the habit.
The video is part of a package of measures that Aneurin Bevan Health Board is launching to support the introduction of smoke-free environments at all its sites.
Smoking has been phased out over the past year and a half in the grounds of new and existing hospitals in Gwent, but the biggest sites – the Royal Gwent and Nevill Hall, where the video was shot – have been left until last as they present the greatest challenge.
“I was discussing with colleagues what we could do to promote the hospital grounds message and the idea of a film came up,” said Mr Carey, from Brynmawr, who works for the Hearty Lives Project, which aims to reduce the uptake of smoking by young people in Blaenau Gwent.
“We didn’t want it to be too prescriptive and formal, like some health videos can be.
We wanted it to be a bit more true to life in terms of reactions these messages can trigger.
“But the fun part is important too, because people are more likely to register with it if it makes them smile or laugh.”
Credited to Mr Carey’s own Red Slate Films, the video is in silent format. It was made unscripted, with a borrowed camera, and with John Lovat, the husband of one of Scott’s work colleagues playing all the characters.
It’s ‘start of positive change’
DR Gill Richardson, director of public health with Aneurin Bevan Health Board, said its policy on smoke-free environments is about where people smoke, rather than if.
But it has already encouraged many members of staff to try to give up.
“We view this very much as the start of a positive change,” she said. “We know nicotine addition is very hard to break free from, and many will need support.
This is available from health professionals including pharmacists and specialist services such as Stop Smoking Wales. “This video is a small part of a package of measures to support the introduction of smoke-free environments.
“We hope this humorous, slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ video will help staff, patients and visitors remember that smoking will no longer be allowed in the grounds of any health board sites.”