No Smokes is an interactive anti-smoking website and package of educational tools developed specifically for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and the teachers and health practitioners who work with them.
No Smokes is inspired by a vision in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities enjoy the same level of health as other Australians, and smoking is seen as the exception, rather than a pervasive norm.
The project uses empowerment strategies to promote healthy choices and behaviours about smoking to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. With its focus on culturally relevant concepts and language, youth friendly multimedia format, and inclusion of Indigenous faces, No Smokes represents a first in anti-smoking campaigning for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian audiences.
No Smokes is based on the understanding that social marketing is at its most effective when it speaks the language of its target audience, when it uses the communications tools they use, delivers its message using people they look up to, and when they can see something of themselves in the faces and voices it features.
At the core of No Smokes research methodology is a commitment to ongoing community consultation, and the participation of Indigenous people whenever possible. The research team, led by Dr Sheree Cairney, has conducted extensive focus groups with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in rural, remote and urban locations around Australia, along with intensive one-on-one interviews and focus groups with teachers and health workers in the field. This process has informed every element of the project – from the visual identity of the No Smokes website to the language and messaging of its flagship products.
Early formative research by the No Smokes team found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people did not identify with most traditional anti-smoking campaigns and therefore easily dismissed the campaign’s message. Those interviewed found a much stronger pull to multimedia, video, social networking, animation, music and mobile phones – media especially useful in overcoming language and literacy barriers. As a result, No Smokes is rich with interactive content, including mobile phone apps, links with social networking sites and a YouTube channel ‘No Smokes TV’.
No Smokes includes features such as:
- an animated (Indigenous) brain explaining how nicotine addiction works, and how the brain can beat addiction
- comedy skits by Indigenous comedian Sean Choolburra
- games such as an interactive ‘dance-off’ and a cheesy quiz show style quit journey planner
- video clips of Aboriginal celebrities and sporting stars, health experts, elders and successful quitters extoling the benefits of giving up
- PDF facts sheets for teachers and health workers
- music clips and mobile phone ringtones to download
- study guides with lesson plans and activities for teachers to use No Smokes in the classroom. These are linked to the National Curriculum.
No Smokes fills a gap in anti-smoking campaigns for young Indigenous Australians, and also promises a much-needed pool of data re what works and what doesn’t in this regard. A key project feature is formative and summative evaluation to inform and improve:
- The initial project design – to test hypotheses re community demand and need, the merit of the chosen approach, target audience communications preferences, knowledge gaps, messaging and appropriate dissemination
- Content development – to ascertain if products in development are ‘on message’ and will resonate with target audiences, as well as be of maximum utility to intermediaries
- Post ‘go live’ – to gauge reach and impact among target audiences and their intermediaries, to establish what impact the project is having on the problem it seeks to address, and making necessary course corrections to its offer
Using a combination of Google analytics data, online survey data, polls and data from custom built online products (for example, a smoking calculator and So You Think You Can Quit? quiz) as well as qualitative, face-to-face evaluation, in intensive one-on-one interviews and key informant focus groups, No Smokes is developing a rich source of knowledge for future project iterations and for broader use by researchers and practitioners in this field.
Menzies is evaluating the reach and uptake of the No Smoke project’s key messages. Online surveys are powered by SurveyGizmo http://www.surveygizmo.com/
Check it out at www.nosmokes.com.au
No Smokes is a Tackling Indigenous Smoking and Healthy Lifestyles initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
No Smokes has recently secured an additional $500,000 grant from the Department of Health and Ageing, to support further content development and create training programs for health workers and teachers.