Report on a public health initiative (Assignment 1)

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Tobacco use has been linked to an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. In Australia, it has a high prevalence, with many adults aged 18 and up being affected. As a result, a higher proportion of males than females have been reported as daily smokers. The national tobacco initiative in Australia had a significant impact on raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use. It was established in 1997 to use resources to encourage people to stop smoking on a personal level. When assessing the campaign’s success, it was clear that the goal had been met; however, further research is needed in the future. Commonality, prevalence, distribution, population or risk factors
Tobacco smoking is associated with a great incidence of mortality and morbidity in Australia (Banks, Joshy, Weber, Liu, Grenfell, Egger, … & Beral, 2015). According to the World Health Organization (2014), there is a daily number of smokers about 2.6 million adults aged 18 years and above. It is considered a decrease compared to the previous years where the prevalence was higher among the adults aged 18 years and above. For instance, in 2011-12 the National survey indicated that the prevalence was 16.1% and 22.4% in 2001. The use of tobacco was associated with about 7.8% of the total morbidity within Australia and a higher rate of mortality altogether. As such, it was linked to an array of health conditions that lead to deterioration of individual’s well being. These conditions include cancer, renal disease, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and infections of the eyes (World Health Organization, 2014). Though there was under-reporting for other age groups about the use of tobacco, 27% was identified to be the number of daily smokers aged 15-17 years.
The 2014-15 National survey indicated that tobacco smoking was more prevalent among men as compared to women. Those who smoked daily were 16.9% males and 12.1% females aged 18 years and above as indicated in the report. Consequently, it was reported that those who lived in the remote areas had a higher prevalence of smoking as compared to those in the major cities (World Health Organization, 2014). The report recorded that 20.9% of the smokers lived in the outer regions and the remotes areas, 16.7% within the inner regions while those in the major cities were only 13.0% daily smokers. Similarly, the lower economic areas had a higher prevalence of regular smokers as compared to others which were related to the high rates of unemployment.

Campaign approach
Quit now Australia’s National Tobacco Campaign was initiated in 1997 aimed at reducing the level of smoking within the country (Hill & Carroll, 2003). It was primarily done through the social media after review of the existing data on the prevalence of tobacco use. Through the available data on previous quit campaigns, there was a need to focus on individual behaviour as a change of the model theory that had previously been employed. The research conducted before the campaign had identified that most of the smoker failed to quit due to personal agendas that failed to place a priority on the agency of the matter (Hill & Carroll, 2003). The approach indicated that though the smokers had personal intentions to quit smoking, they failed to put it as a priority in their agendas. In this way, the major objective in communicating the campaign through the media included the need to elevate the issue as a ‘today’s list.’ The campaign, therefore, needed to use behaviour change strategies that would potentiate the intention of persons to an action (Hill & Carroll, 2003). It needed to ensure that people obtained new insights about the recommended behaviour, understand its importance, understand the necessity of urgency and its relevance to individuals and increase their confidence in their abilities to cause change through constant reminders (Hill & Carroll, 2003). In this way, the campaign considered that the use of new insights was a significant step in ensuring that the outcome would become long term.
Additionally, the campaign used both social and ideological theories to enhance behaviour change amongst the smokers. It aimed at providing data on the effects of smoking in new insightful methods that were enlightening (Hill & Carroll, 2003). The scientific knowledge available on the impact of smoking was translated to the general experience of the smokers to provide them with a cognitive appreciation of the detrimental factors. The campaign described particular consequence such as lung cancer while providing images of bodily harm to ensure that explicit imagery of the effects of smoking was created within the minds of the smokers (Hill & Carroll, 2003).
The campaign targeted smokers from 18 to 40 years, and the choice of media used for advertisement was majorly television. As indicated by the prevalence rates, most of the smokers were those from the low socio-economic class and, hence, the choice of television as the primary medium (Hill & Carroll, 2003). It was indicated that it had a higher level of exposure and reached the set objective in reminding and prompting the smoker to quit.
Analysis of campaign
Through the monitoring and evaluation process of the strategies used in the campaign, it was evident that it made an impact through the results of the various sources. For instance, reports from the evaluation of the first phase indicated that almost 80% of the target population had interacted with the advertisement made on the television (Hill & Carroll, 2003). In this way, there was a significant rate of recognition and recall indicated from the survey made for the smokers as they admitted the high levels of learning and health knowledge that they received. More so, they agreed with the attitudes that were placed in the campaign in educating and persuading them to quit smoking through the health education. It was a campaign that created an impact on the teenagers even though it was targeted to the adults. A review of some adolescents indicated that they were aware of the campaign and it proved necessary for them to use in learning.
The campaign had great achievement since it obtained collaboration between the different states in Australia. These states also contributed to the resources used in conducting the campaign making it get to a significant number of the target population. However, the study did not include the rate of smoking cessation that was achieved through the campaign and, hence, the outcomes could not be considered to be long term. Subsequently, better results could have been obtained in the case where the campaign focused on both cessation and prevention of initiation for the healthy community members. A study by Pierce, White, and Emery (2012) showed that focusing on cessation alone may not be sufficient for a campaign since nicotine dependence takes time before it can have a significant reduction.
On the other hand, focusing on the initiation rates was seen to have a greater impact since it leads to rapid change within a short span. The researcher indicated that anti- smoking advertisement program could have been more effective if it focused on initiation for the teenagers and young adults as compared to those that were already smokers (Pierce, White, & Emery, 2012). Besides, the campaign could have been more useful if it included various interventions and not only mass media advertisement. As indicated by White, Tan, Wakefield, and Hill (2003) to curb and prevent the initiation of smoking behaviour within a community, the program needs to be comprehensive and ensure that the target is achieved. The integration of interventions such as restrictions, advertisements, increase in prices and school curricula could be vital in ensuring that the behaviour change is made within the community.
Future action
The campaign was effective in that it was conducted by identifying a target group and the method that could reach them effectively. In addition, it took into consideration the different ethnic groups affected by smoking and, therefore, used different languages to frame their campaign. Subsequently, the campaign obtained necessary resources by forming strategic partnerships and alliances which allow a broad range of the community members to own up the program. It was possible to ensure that the credibility of the whole campaign was reinforced and extend the target for the message.
With the presentation of the above data, it is imperative that campaigns focus on both the prevention measures on smoking, education, and measures to reduce the level of smoking for all age groups and ethnic communities (Banks et al., 2015). It would be recommended that future campaigns in this area take into consideration the integration of various interventions within a particular program. In this regard, a message that does not apply to a particular group could be important for another such as those that already engaged in smoking and those that think of initiating (Banks et al., 2015). The message used would impact various age groups in different ways and, therefore, make a broad impact on the community, reducing the number of individuals who smoked daily an prevent an increase in those who initiated smoking daily.

References
Banks, E., Joshy, G., Weber, M.F., Liu, B., Grenfell, R., Egger, S.,… & Beral, V. (2015). Tobacco smoking and all-cause mortality in a large Australian cohort study: findings from a mature epidemic with current low smoking prevalence. BMC Medicine, 13(1), 38.
Hill, D., & Carroll, T. (2003). Australia’s national tobacco campaign. Tobacco Control, 12(suppl 2), ii9-ii14.
Pierce, J.P., White, V.M., & Emery, S.L. (2012). What public health strategies are needed to reduce smoking initiation?. Tobacco Control, 21(2), 258-264.
White, V., Tan, N., Wakefield, M., & Hill, D. (2003). Do adult focused anti-smoking campaigns have an impact on adolescents? The case of the Australian National Tobacco Campaign. Tobacco Control, 12(suppl 2), ii23-ii29.
World Health Organization. (2014). Noncommunicable diseases country profiles 2014. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/128038/1/9789241507509_eng.pdf

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