Post D: Punk Music


Indonesian punk culture fights back against oppressive political structures and provides an outlet for the misfits of society. It’s a unifying, rebellious assemblage that takes inspiration from the early 70s and is often characterized by mohawks, leather and piercings. According to Jeremy Wallach, “the fundamental stylistic features of punk music and fashion are thought to be unchanged since the dawn of the movement.” [2008] This culture is enduring and spreads like wildfire across a multitude of continents and civilisations.

The Sex Pistols, 1977

Many will argue that the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were the true fathers of punk rock. While the Ramones lay down the foundation of the sound with loose lyrics and hard-hitting percussion, the Pistols attacked deeper political themes. These bands inspired millions of wannabe rockstars and hopeful musicians, who copied their style of dress, values and unruly behavior. But it’s not just about breaking the rules and causing chaos; many bands focus on poverty, environmental destruction, the immorality of the government and fighting constrictive political regimes. NTRL’s song “Gak Asik!” combines head-banging guitar riffs and percussion with lyrics that highlight the destructive nature of the government system, stating “corruption is not cool.” Although it may seem rough from an outsider’s perspective, the music is frank and progressive.

Karli states that “punk is like a gateway drug. A portal to countercultural ideas and radical politics.” There are 2 subsets of punk in Indonesia – the posers who dress up in punk gear and set out to break laws and cause havoc – the “street kids” – and the moral, ideological community more concerned with political freedom and activism. Authorities tend to class these communities together, assuming the worst of anyone clad in leather and piercings. In 2011, the Indonesian province of Aceh pronounced punk to be “the new social disease,” ostracizing the community. They illegally arrested and detained 64 punks at a concert before they were forced to attend a moral re-education camp.

Aceh punks at the re-education camp with heads recently shaved, 2011

But punk music isn’t just about causing fights, it’s about defending one’s beliefs and finding a place where there is none in mainstream society. Maria Pro sums up the archetypal punk as an “anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, autonomous and independent son of a bitch.” This culture embraces the outsider; becomes a “place of refuge from families who don’t understand the aspirations of their youth, and from a society preoccupied with other issues.” [Pickles 2000].

John Harris suggests that people like punk because it is an expression of freedom, and is always far from the primary culture. [2012] It’s a way for lost souls to define themselves and find a place in a community amongst a more complex, globalised, post-authoritarian reality.



Radio National. (2014). Indonesian punk: PUNK’S NOT DEAD!. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Dec. 2017].

Wallach, J. (2008). Living the Punk Lifestyle in Jakarta. Ethnomusicology, [online] 52(1). Available at: [Accessed 14 Dec. 2017].

Ryan Bergeron, C. (2015). Punk Shocks the World – CNN. [online] CNN. Available at: [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Pro, M. (2017). Punk Rock in Indonesia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Dec. 2017].

Harris, J. (2012). Punk rock … alive and kicking in a repressive state near you. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].

Handayani, E. (2016). Muslim punks in mohawks attacked: Punks in Indonesia are persecuted but still manage to maintain a culture which stands up for difference. Index on Censorship, 45(4), pp.39-43.

The Globe and Mail Inc. (2011). Indonesian punk youth cleansed by police. [image] Available at:×0/filters:quality(80)/ [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].

Reuters (2011). Indonesia: ‘Dirty’ Punks Forced into ‘Moral Rehab’ by Sharia Police. [image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].

Young, R. (1977). The Sex Pistols. [image] Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].


Screenshot 2017-12-31 04.15.10Indonesia is a country with a long history and a rich and vibrant culture. In more recent times, it has seen the country gaining independence from a colonial past. This has seen a new cultural identity emerging, negotiating between a traditional old heritage and a developing global country.

However, this rapidly changing country is not without its battles, facing challenges such has corruption, poverty and natural disasters.

In 2010, Taring Padi, a political art collective from Yogyakarta, Central Java joined the people of Sidoarjo fora four-day collaborative project. Known as “Reflection in the Mud,” this project focused on reviving the collective memory of the Sidoarjo community. In 2006, a large-scale mudflow eruption was caused by a technical error during an oil exploration in the Sidoarjo District of the East Java province of Indonesia. The mudflow spread widely, encompassing 12 villages and forcing around 40,000 people to relocate. The mudflow is still spreading, and will continue to do so for the next 30 years.

sidoarjo-mud-flow-6[2](Taring Padi Collective, 2011)

figure 1 taring padi lapindo

(Taring Padi Collective, 2010)

Angry at the displacement and destruction of their homes and lives, the inherent corruption and  lack of government support, Taring Padi invited participants to communicate their feelings about the loss and sorrow caused by the Lapindo disaster while encouraging individuals not to dwell on their pain but rather to continue the fight for their rights. With the growth of a collective memory, Taring Padi hoped that cultural ties would be reinforced, breaking down tension that had grown amongst victims. The development of a collective memory was intended to not only reinforce solidarity between victims but also to serve as a statement to the public that similar incidents cannot happen again.

Carrying the puppets, banners, and masks over the mud, these objects were intended to symbolise the oppressors who had robbed residents of their livelihoods, voices, and histories. This parade ended with a carnival and concert where citizens and artists alike sang together, expressing their discontent and continued concerns for the future of those affected by disaster and corruption.


(Shari, 2011)

The style that the posters used gave rise to a new type of art that referenced comic style. They like comic books where allegorical, telling the story of the Sidoarjo community.


(Sinaga, 2010)


(Sinaga, 2010)

Taring Padi’s work with the community of Sidoarjo is exemplary of this group’s engagement with local communities in Indonesia and abroad. Artist Dolorosa Sinaga describes the emergence of Taring Padi in December 1998, shortly after the fall of Suharto’s oppressive 32-year New Order regime stating,

“Through art, they began building an understanding amongst the people to fight against injustice, helping to forge a community aware of environmental, social, political and cultural issues, inviting the community to be active and courageous in voicing their real life experiences and their opinions on the performance of government.”(Sinaga, 2012)

With a desire to continue the fight of the student movement, which had played a key part in the demise of the New Order, the founders of Taring Padi set forth with a goal: to create art that would both help to educate and give voice to marginalised communities. Work created by Taring Padi never holds the signature of a single artist but rather is the product of the collective and the communities they work with. While the production of art is a significant aspect of their work, the process of communication and collaboration is held superior to the production of objects. This type of art practice can, in part, be seen as a type of “social practice” or “socially engaged” art.

This is a subcultural movement motivated against corruption and injustice. This collective has through their art has brought attention to flighting injustice that the country locally, nationally and humanity globally.

This collective has continued make art that bring awareness to social issues that face Indonesia.


Google Images. 2017. Sidoarjo Mud Flow. [ONLINE] Available at:….0…1c.2.64.psy-ab..0.1.278….0.pQo6r34BVAc#imgrc=oifBji5qEexdLM:.

Abbott, A. “The Radical Ethics of DIY in Self-Organized Art and Cultural Activity.” Presentation for Ixia ‘Public art and Self-Organization,’ Leeds, United Kingdom, October 1, 2012. Retrieved from

Bianpoen, C. 2009. “Art and the Nation: The Cultural Politics of Sukarno.” In Beyond the Dutch: Indonesia, the Netherlands and the Visual Arts, from 1900 until now, edited by Meta Knol, Remco Raben, and Kitty Zijlmans. 94-103. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers.

Google Images. 2017. Sidoarjo Mud Flow. [ONLINE] Available at:….0…1c.2.64.psy-ab..0.1.278….0.pQo6r34BVAc#imgrc=oifBji5qEexdLM:.

Google Images. 2017. Sidoarjo Mud Flow. [ONLINE] Available at:….0…1c.2.64.psy-ab..0.1.278….0.pQo6r34BVAc#imgrc=oifBji5qEexdLM:].

Google Images. 2017. Sidoarjo Mud Flow. [ONLINE] Available at:….0…1c.2.64.psy-ab..0.1.278….0.pQo6r34BVAc#imgrc=oifBji5qEexdLM:].

Google Images. 2017. Sidoarjo Mud Flow. [ONLINE] Available at:….0…1c.2.64.psy-ab..0.1.278….0.pQo6r34BVAc#imgrc=oifBji5qEexdLM:].


Bishop, C .2006. “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents.” Artforum 176-83.

Kester, G. 2004.Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kuss, A. 2000. “Proximity and Distance – The Field of Tension Between Individual and Society. In AWAS!: Recent Art from Indonesia, edited by Alexandra Kuss, Damon Moon, Mella Jaarsma, Midori Hirota, and Nele Wasmuth, 25-40. Yogyakarta; The Cemeti Art Foundation.

McMichael, H. 2009. “The Lapindo Mudflow Disaster: Environmental, Infrastructure and Economic Impact.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 45: 73-83.

Seeing Through The Cloud of Smoke

Anti-smoking campaigns have been around for decades. For the past half century or so, tobacco companies have faced fierce campaigning, taxation, and legal reform from governments and independent organisations across the world. This has been effective, dropping from 45.4% in 1977 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2000) to 14.5% in 2015 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017). Smoking campaigns have always followed the ‘smoking kills’ notion, which is of course true; however US design firm Bandujo nearly doubled hotline call rates in New York with a single campaign commissioned by the New York state government. Los Angeles later requested use of the campaign and had similar results (Bandujo 2017). 


Banjudo 2017.

The ‘Suffering’ campaign draws on the fact that smokers know that smoking tobacco is bad for them. They know the ‘smoking kills’ routine, and to be fair, that message has been the basis for just about every anti-smoking campaign I have seen. The campaign instead focuses on the gradual, yet painful descent into poor health resultant of smoking, using harrowing images and messages to reinforce the message that it’s not about premature death, its about the months, if not years of physical and mental suffering that precedes it (West 2017). 

In health-related advertising, fear is proven to be an effective tool, doubly effective when compared to incentive-based advertising (Manyiwa, S. Brennan, R. 2012). The ‘carrot or the stick’ model, though is seems trivial, is an accurate visualisation of how the campaign works. The only difference is that this time, the stick is not a quick poke, but rather a slow plunge, and we all know which of the two is preferable. Though incentive-based advertising (for better health, as in this case) are necessary, they lack the ability to instil any feeling of necessity to act into the viewer (O’Keefe 2016). 


Banjudo 2017.

The concept only accounts for half of the success, however. The implementation of the campaign was thorough; posters, bus stops, billboards, online ads, videos, as well as other miscellaneous print examples were distributed citywide, often occupying public spaces through which a significant amount of pedestrian and vehicle traffic passes through daily. The haunting stares of people in pain exude from bus stops and billboards, looking straight into the eyes of passersby. Smoker or not, the images are designed to capture and hold your gaze, and do so effectively, setting the standard for how advertising should be able to evoke a response in a stubborn target. The campaign exemplifies how the tobacco industry can be targeted by good designers, and how design has the power to influence global issues.



Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2000, Health Risk Factors: Trends in smoking, viewed 18 December 2017 <!OpenDocument>

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017, Australian smoking rates falling, viewed 18 December 2017 <>

Banjudo, 2017 New York City Anti-Smoking Campaign, viewed 18 December 2017 <>

West, R. 2017  ‘Tobacco smoking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates and interventions’, Psychology & Health, Vol 32. Issue 32. pp. 1018-1036

Manyiwa, S. Brennan, R. 2012 ’Fear appeals in anti-smoking advertising:How important is self-efficacy?’ Journal of Marketing Management Vol. 28, pp. 1419–1437

O’Keefe, D. 2016, ‘Evidence-based advertising using persuasion principles: Predictive validity and proof of concept’ European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50, Issue 1/2, pp. 294-300.

Post B: Effective measures to fight against tobacco consumption

(Reuters 2012)

The smoking epidemic in Indonesia is one of the world’s most serious cases, with 70% of men aged over 20 being smokers and the average starting age of smoking being a mere 7 years (Hodal 2012). The leading cause of this problem is the lack of restrictive laws regarding access to cigarettes in the country, as anyone of any age is legally able to purchase and smoke tobacco. A country that completely juxtaposes this in regards to their strict anti-tobacco laws is Uruguay, who have seen a clear decrease in the number of smokers between 2005 and 2011 with the main reason being their tobacco control campaign which included the ban of cigarettes in indoor public spaces, the ban of tobacco advertisements and increasing the tax on the product (Azevedo e Silva 2012).

A design measure that accompanied these legal actions is an anti-tobacco installation set up by Uruguay’s Resources National Fund in the city of Montevideo. The installation consists of large scale sculptures of cigarettes labelled with the toxic ingredients that are used to make them and are located in a busy area where people are bound to walk past and notice them. The size of the cigarettes being close to the height of a human provides an intimidating quality and combined with the excessive number of them scattered in a highly concentrated area, makes them impossible to miss and provokes viewers, particularly those who are smokers, into considering the message behind them.

1337256000000.cached_1(Campodonico 2012)

This installation focuses on the psychological aspect of tobacco addiction and serves its purpose to make smokers aware of harmful toxins they intake which are concealed within cigarettes. It tackles the main issue of smokers become desensitised to the consequences of smoking the more they do it as the ‘brain processes enhance the reward value of substances over to the point that automatic addictive behaviours occur without thinking’ (Gifford 2007). The large scale sculptural installation being situated in a population dense area effectively is able to explicitly deliver its message to people who pass by and make them accustomed to a negative perception towards tobacco.

The legal measures taken by the Uruguayan government to campaign against cigarette use has undeniably led to results as studies show that the level of restrictions placed on tobacco within an area will result in a decrease in cigarette consumption of similar magnitude (Brown 1995). However, for society to function harmoniously after government action, it requires their understanding and consent for the change and this installation is an example of a measure taken to influence people’s mindsets regarding tobacco usage by exposing its harmful nature.


Hodal, K. 2012, Indonesia’s smoking epidemic – and old problem getting younger, The Guardian, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Margolis, M. 2012, Uruguay Battles Big Tobacco over Cigarette Restrictions, News Week, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

N/A. Uruguay’s tobacco control strategy delivers results, Framework Convention Alliance, viewed 14 December 2017, <>.

Gifford, E & Humphreys, K. 2007, ‘The psychological science of addiction’, Stanford University Medical Centre, vol. 102, no. 3, pp. 352-361.

Azevedo e Silva, G & Goncalvez Valente, J. 2012, ‘Tobacco control: learning from Uruguay’, University of Rio de Janeiro State, vol. 380, pp. 1538-1540.

Brown, B. 1995, ‘Cigarette Taxes and Smoking Restrictions: Impacts and Policy Implications’, Oxford University Press, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 946-951.

Reuters. 2012, Indonesian Men are World’s Top Smokers, Thai Visa, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Campodonico, M. 2012, Two people walk through an anti-tobacco installation set up by Uruguay’s Resources National Fund, depicting cigarettes’ harmful components, in Montevideo, Uruguay, News Week, viewed 13 December 2017, <>.

Tobacco in LGBT communities: #SmokeFreeStillFierce

(ACON Health, 2016)

Tobacco advertising capitalises on the constructed perception that smoking is empowering and glamorous. These connotations are reinforced and recontextualised to sell their product across different demographics, including counter-culture groups. The mystery and glamour associated with cigarette consumption is reworked into ideals such as independence and emancipation through advertising imagery and language, which makes its way into popular culture film, music and other consumable content. (Quinlan, 2016) For example, cigarettes were marketed as ‘torches of freedom’ to women amidst the popularity of the women’s rights movement. (Lee, 2008) For the LGBTQ demographic, smoking was advertised as a liberating choice and became a pervasive part of queer party culture. (Agnew-Brune et al, 2014)

ACON’S #SmokeFreeStillFierce campaign video (ACON Health, 2016)

A 2016 NSW campaign discouraging smoking as a part of queer culture and its community is #SmokeFreeStillFierce, which is run by the NSW government LGBTI health organisation, ACON, and specifically targets lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. It was based on research conducted by ACON and the University of Sydney into the smoking habits of LGQ women and how they differed from straight current and ex-smokers. Tobacco use is generally not acknowledged as a major queer issue, even though statistics show that there is a disparity between LBGT smokers and non-LGBT smokers, especially among youth. (Malone et al, 2008)

Infographic on Tobacco use and awareness in the LGBT community (LGBT Health Equity, n.d.)

Today, American LGBT adults are smoking at a far higher percentage, at 20.6% compared to the 14.9% of heterosexuals. (Truth Initiative, 2017) There is also the possibility of increased health risks for this demographic as HIV-positive people are more susceptible to thrush and pneumonia infections, and trans women undergoing hormone therapy are at greater risk of developing heart and lung cancer if they smoke during the treatment. (Quinlan, 2016)

Personal interviews establish a supportive network surrounding the campaign (ACON Health, 2016)

The campaign is largely run through social media and the sharing of digital content, including short videos, personal interviews and downloadable resources to assist with quitting. They also organise events and online interventions, which focus on the sharing of stories and community driven aspect of the organisation.  It takes much more of a positive, light-hearted approach than is typical for anti-tobacco campaigns, which reflects the demographic they are speaking to. It is also designed to make cessation a more open, supportive experience by encouraging conversation and the sharing of personal journeys, as their research showed that most were well aware of the health risks of smoking but found little motivation and support in the heavy imagery and shock-tactics of most anti-smoking campaigns. (Wade, 2016)



ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, graphic, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

ACON Health, 2016, Smoke Free Still Fierce, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

ACON Health, 2016, Watch Michelle’s Story, video recording, viewed 15 December 2017, <;.

Agnew-Brune, C. B., Blosnich, J. R., Clapp, J. A., Lee, J. G. L., 2014, ‘Out smoking on the big screen: tobacco use in LGBT movies, 2000-2011, Tobacco Control, vol. 23, no. 2.

Lee, J. 8., 2008, ‘Big tobacco’s spin on women’s liberation’, The New York Times, October 10, viewed 14 December 2017, <;.

LGBT Health Equity, n.d., infographic, viewed 16 December 2017, <;.

Malone, R. E., Offen, N., Smith, E., 2008, ‘Tobacco industry targeting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community: A white paper’, IDEAS Working Paper Series from RePEc.

Quinlan, C. 2016, ‘How the tobacco industry exploits LGBTQ people’, The Establishment, November 11, viewed 15 Decmber 2017, <;.

Truth Initiative, 2017, Tobacco is a social justice issue: LGBT communities, viewed 15 December 2017,  <;.

Wade, M., 2016, ‘Fierce campaign targets queer women’, Star Observer, May 10, viewed 16 December 2017, <;.


Post B: On Exploiting Rocks

It is my belief that adolescence is the most difficult age to endure. Not for angst, as one might assume, nor the incessant torment of existential uncertainty or the insatiable void of unresolved identity. Rather, adolescents are trapped in between the intellectual capacity to understand stupid decisions and the youthful obligation to rebel. Thus, if a parent or guardian insists, “Do not walk around the city in bare feet, you’ll step on a needle”, what choice does the youth have but to walk around the city barefoot? As stupid as they may recognise this decision to be, the alternative does not bear thought. Though of course purely hypothetical (what can I say?–the example just came to me), we each lived this season of our lives with questionable sagacity. Yet despite shared trauma, Big Tobacco takes advantage of this phenomenon by targeting the resignedly rebellious youth population [Carpenter et al. 2005].

Image result for youth tobacco flavour

The Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine (though they do not abbreviate, we’ll call them TFM) is a top-down, state funded, youth targeted anti-tobacco initiative which illustrates the core flaws in methodology for social design today. Through a poorly designed web-interface, the initiative prioritises health impact awareness, announcing the damning effects of tobacco, the psychology of youth-influence and the evil of the industry, with no academic support. Though their practical initiatives, such as the LifeSkills Training program or the Real Talk About Smoking video, have had some success, they bypass the crux of the issue; the prohibition of tobacco increases its appeal [Johnson et al. 2003]. Credit where credit is due: their programs in response to the detrimental health impact of the industry have been more significant, providing services to assist in overcoming addiction, and training healthcare providers to do the same. Their counter-marketing and awareness campaigns have been effective in their base purpose, to reinforce the health risks of tobacco, but even so, they’re locked in the past and fail to address present challenges.

Big Tobacco spends millions of dollars on slick marketing tactics to replace those customers who die from using their product or who have quit smoking. –TFM

What has design to learn from the experience of TFM? Conventionally, our inclination has been to draw a direct line from problem to solution; from a lack of awareness to mass-marketing. Yet the vacillation of society interferes with this rigidity, as typified by the shortcoming of TFM. Brown offers a new lens through which to consider our approach to wicked problem solving, “Design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. It is not only human-centered; it is deeply human in and of itself.” [Brown 2009]. Drawing from this order, by prioritising people and celebrating their expertise and values, we construct a methodology unconstrained by traditional faults. Fluid, inclusive, collaborative, thorough and equitable, deeply human design offers an approach to challenge Big Tobacco and positively redesign our world.

Perhaps we never quite overcome our youthful defiance. I, for one, recall fondly my return home, triumphantly unshod and needle free. Still, it would be a comfort to know that those redesigning our world were doing so for our sake… designing to protect the vulnerability of our obdurate orientation between a rock and a hard place.





Brown, T. 2009, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY, p. 4.

Carpenter, C. M., Wayne, G. F., Pauly, J. L., Koh, H. K., Connolly, G. N. 2005, ‘New Cigarette Brands With Flavors That Appeal To Youth: Tobacco Marketing Strategies’, Health Affairs, vol. 24, no. 6

Johnson, J. L., Bottorff, J. L., Moffat, B., Ratner, P. A., Shoveller, J. A., Lovatoc, C. Y. 2003, ‘Tobacco dependence: adolescents’ perspectives on the need to smoke’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 56, no. 7

The Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine 2017, Tobacco Free Maine Home, Augusta, viewed 15 December 2017, <;

POST B: Plain Packaging – Has This Been A Successful Design Initiative For Tobacco Control?

Growing up in Australia today, the harsh consequences of smoking are regularly advertised. This is completely different to how my parents grew up in the 1970s, a time where the diseases linked to smoking were only just being discovered by scientists and doctors. Studies show that still only a few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. For example, a 2009 survey conducted by the World Health Organisation in China revealed that “only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it causes stroke”. (World Health Organisation 2017.)

As part of an initiative to “make Australia the healthiest country by the year 2020”, (Cancer Council Victoria 2011) and knowing the cigarette pack has become an important means of communicating the risks of smoking, the Australian Government decided to fund a project to introduce what is known as plain packaging. From December 1 2012 all tobacco products were legally required to be in plain packaging, making Australia the first country in the world to introduce this top-down design led initiative. (The Department of Health 2017.) This initiative requires all tobacco products in Australia to be standardised and sold in uniform plain green boxes, typefaces and “contain graphic images of diseased smokers”. (White, V. Williams, T. & Wakefield, M. 2015.) It requires the removal of all branding such as colours, imagery, logos and trademarks. (2015.)

Cigarettes in Australia are sold in identical green packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings. (Photo: Hutton, J. 2017.)
I was a young teenager when plain packaging was first implemented in Australia. It surely put me off smoking for good as I never wanted to even try it. (Photo: Hutton, J. 2017.)

These were all done in support of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Regulations Act 2011. (Federal Register of Legislation 2016.) Its objectives were to “improve public health by discouraging people from using tobacco products or starting, increase the number of smokers who quit and reduce exposure to tobacco smoke.” (The Department of Health 2017.)  Increasing the effectiveness of health warnings helps to reduce the ability that previous “glamorised” (2017) retail packaging had on consumers. I believe these improvements in how tobacco products are promoted through packaging are essential to reducing the unacceptable level of death and disability caused by smoking in Australia. This is because people are more likely to understand the side effects through confronting imagery as oppose to text.

Cigarette packaging in Australia was “glamorised” (The Department of Health 2017) in the 1970s, where people were not warned of the diseases smoking would later cause them. (Photo: Sludge, G. 1970.)

Two years after the Act was introduced in 2012, the Australian Government commenced a “Post-Implementation Review” (2017) of tobacco plain packaging to “assess its effectiveness.” (2017.) The results concluded the Act is having a positive impact because in results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was a general decrease in the smoking rate, dropping from 15.1% in 2012 to 12.8% in 2014. (2017.) Cancer Council researcher Professor Melanie Wakefield also commented “about 20% of people who smoke made attempts to quit over the course of a month…after plain packaging, that went up to nearly 27% of people who made quit attempts”. (Wakefield, M. 2017.) Furthermore, Doctor Tasneem Chipty, an expert in econometric analysis says from December 2012 to September 2015, “the 2012 packaging changes resulted in 108, 228 fewer smokers”. (Chipty, Dr T. 2017.) It is evident that plain packaging in Australia has been successful when it is compared to countries like Indonesia, where this incentive has not been introduced. While the number of smokers in Australia is decreasing, statistics show that the number of smokers in Indonesia rose over the last year, from 31.8% in 2015 to 34.1% in 2016. (Reddy, K.S. Yadav, A. Arora, M. 2017.)

Although plain packaging has shown positive results in Australia, it also highlights problems. The World Trade Organisation granted Indonesia the right to challenge Australia’s plain packaging laws in 2014. (Moore, S. 2014.) Indonesia’s Trade Ministry director Bachrul Chairi believes Australia “breaches international trade rules and the intellectual property rights of brands.” (Chairi, B. 2014.) Chairi further comments that it removes an available avenue of brand advertising for cigarette companies. (2014.) Since Indonesia is the “sixth biggest tobacco exporter and provides jobs to more than six million people”, (Moore, S. 2014) there is an incentive to promote the tobacco industry. The final ruling is yet to be made.

Indonesian workers hand roll cigarettes at a factory in Surabaya. If there was a decline of smoking in Indonesia, this would result in job loss for these people. (Photo: Chairi, B. 2014.)

On a universal level, the UK has followed Australia in the plain packaging laws as of May 2016, (Bourke, L. 2016) citing the decline in Australia’s smoking rate as proof that it works. In the future, Ireland, France and New Zealand are among several countries committed to following Australia and the UK in introducing plain packaging. (2016.) Consequently, with other countries coming on board, I strongly believe that plain packaging will continue to globally succeed in battling the tobacco epidemic as its graphic imagery showing the diseases smoking causes provides a much more powerful message than words on the old packaging ever will. We just need to convince Indonesia to follow this trend.


Reference List:

Bourke, L. 2016, ‘Australia Made It Easier for UK to Introduce Plain Packaging Says Kevin Rudd’, The Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 13 December 2017, <;

Cancer Council Victoria. 2011, ‘Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products: A Review of the Evidence’, Cancer Control Policy, Position Statements, vol. 1, no. 1, pp 13-16, viewed 10 December 2017.

Chairi, B. 2014, ‘Indonesia Challenges Australia’s Plain Cigarette Packaging Law At WTO’, Jakarta Globe, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

Chipty, Dr T. 2017, Evaluation of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 11 December 2017, <;

Federal Register of Legislation. 2016, Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011, Australian Government, viewed 11 December 2017, <;

Hutton, J. 2017, ‘Smoking: Australia’s Packing Up, Why Can’t China, Indonesia?’, This Week In Asia, viewed 13 December 2017, <;

Moore, S. 2014, ‘Indonesia To Challenge Australia’s Plain Packaging Tobacco Laws at World Trade Organisation’, ABC News, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

Reddy, K.S. Yadav, A. Arora, M. 2017, ‘Indonesia: Integrating Tobacco Control Into Health and Development Agendas’, Tobacco Control, vol. 21, no. 1, pp 24-26, viewed 11 December 2017.

Sludge, G. 1970, ‘The VIrtual Tobacconist – Flip-top UK Cigarette Packets – Brands, c 1970’, Flickr, viewed 11 December 2017, <;

The Department of Health. 2017, Introduction of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 11 December 2017, <;

Wakefield, M. 2017, Smoking and Tobacco Control, Cancer Council Australia, viewed 11 December 2017, <;

White, V. Williams, T. & Wakefield, M. 2015, ‘Has the Introduction of Plain Packaging with Larger Graphic Health Warnings Changed Adolescents Perceptions of Cigarette Packs and Brands?’, Tobacco Control, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 06-11, viewed 11 December 2017.

World Health Organisation. 2017, ‘WHO Report On The Global Tobacco Epidemic: Monitoring Tobacco Use and Prevention Policies’, Bloomberg Philanthropies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 19-25, viewed 10 December 2017.

Post B: The Crowbar

Cigarette butts contain carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, and nicotine, and most filters are made up of plastic fibres (cellulose acetate). Accordingly, the 5.6 trillion cigarette butts that are littered into the global environment each year (Healton et al 2011) have a large – and negative – effect on the environment.

Whilst cigarette butts may be small, they contain materials that are not biodegradable and are littered in large volumes, which is proving detrimental to the environment. Damage from this includes bio-accumulation of poisons up the food chain and harm to water supplies (ANRF 2017). However, a Dutch start-up called Crowded Cities have come up with a design solution to combat the impact of tobacco waste on the environment.


Crows are highly intelligent animals and are able to make and use tools. Using this knowledge, and taking inspiration from the design ‘The Crow Box’, industrial designers Ruben van der Vleuten and Bob Spikman came up with the idea of the Crowbar; a device that teaches crows to pick up cigarette butts in exchange for food. When a crow brings a cigarette butt to the Crowbar and drops it into the funnel, the device recognises whether it is in fact a cigarette butt and then dispenses a bit of food for the crow to take.

Hypothetically, the crow will continue to collect cigarette butts in return for food and let other crows know to do the same. Thus, the Crowbar proposes a solution to the major problem of littered cigarette butts by harnessing nature to do most of the work, and creating a mutualistic relationship between local crows and the machine. The next step for researchers will be to examine how collecting cigarette butts affects crows, i.e. whether carrying the butts in their mouths will have a negative effect on them.

However, substantial issues and challenges arise from the design: for instance, the Crowbar would have to be purchased by a local council; the machine would need to be set up, supplied with food and emptied of butts on a regular basis; and wild cows would initially need to learn how to use the Crowbar. As different crows learn at different speeds and in different ways (Crow Box n.d.), potentially the Crowbar would have to be implemented in different ways depending on where in the world it is being used.

Future potentials permutations of the Crowbar could include collection by the crows of other small pieces of litter, including gum, various plastics, etc. The machine could either encourage locals to litter less, but it also has the potential to validate their littering, and incentivise them to litter, as they may feel like they are helping or feeding the crows by producing waste for them to clean up.



ARNF 2017, Cigarette Butt Waste, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

Crowded Cities n.d., The Crowbar, viewed 14 December, <;

Healton, C.G., Cummings, K.M., O’Connor, R.J. 2011, Butt really? The environmental impact of cigarettes Tobacco Control, viewed 12 December 2017, <;

The Crow Box n.d., The Official Crow Box Kit, viewed 14 December, <;


Post B: Anti-tobacco Propoganda in Nazi Germany

COLOGNE, GERMANY. 1939 — scientist Franz Müller presents the first epidemiological study linking tobacco use and cancer. Five years later, German scientists Eberhard Schairer and Erich Schöniger at Jena University confirmed this study — convincingly establishing for the first time that cigarette smoking is a direct cause of lung cancer. These findings became the basis for the “first and most broadly-reaching anti-smoking campaign of modern times.” (Hamilton, 2014).

Smoking was discouraged in the workplace, banned in cinemas, and also in schools. Policemen and servicemen could not smoke in uniform, and it was not permitted to sell women cigarettes in cafes and other public places. As well as this, advertising tobacco products was restricted. According to Proctor (2000), “Nazi officials moved aggressively in an all-out campaign against cigarette smoking in which tobacco was proclaimed ‘an enemy of the people,’”. The scope of this can be seen in many of the posters and slogans produced for the campaign, the anti-tobacco journal Reine Luft (Pure Air), for instance, used puns and propaganda to suggest smoking was promoted by the devil (Weindling 1989).


Cartoon From a 1941 Issue of Reine Luft (Pure Air) 1941 (image: AJPH)

This tobacco control approach can be seen as a top-down method, in which the totalitarian National Socialists enforced what they saw as an issue in the best interest of the people. Research into the effects of tobacco were funded by the Institute for the Struggle Against Tobacco, which was founded in 1941 and funded by Hitler’s Reich Chancellery (Hamilton 2014). The campaign can be seen as an interdisciplinary initiative that compounded anti-capitalist propaganda, public health research, and quite often — anti-Semitism. It’s enforcement however, was reportedly inconsistent, where “measures were often not enforced, and cigarettes were actively distributed to ‘deserving’ groups” (Bachinger et al 2009). Later statistics suggest that despite the volume of the lasting effects of the initiative prevented approximately 20,000 German women from lung cancer deaths due to Nazi paternalism, which discouraged women from smoking, often with police force (Proctor 2000).

The Institute for the Struggle Against Tobacco was shut down after the second world war. A decade later, the American Cancer society published findings confirming the link between lung cancer and smoking; as well as the risk of second-hand smoke. Though enterprising, Aboul-Enein (2012) reminds us that these aggressive campaigns were “less concerned with the universal dimensions of public health practices and ethics than they were towards a pursuit of a lifestyle that was worthy of a ‘master race.’”

Reference List

Aboul-Enein, B. 2012, ‘The Anti-tobacco Movement of Nazi Germany: A Historiographical Re-Examination’, Global Journal of Health Education and Promotion, vol. 15.

Bachinger, E. Gilmore, E. Mckee, M. 2001, ‘Tobacco policies in Germany: not as simple as it seems’, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London.

Hamilton, T. B, 2014 ‘The Nazi’s Forgotten Anti-Smoking Campaign’, The Atlantic, July 9, viewed 13th December 2017, <;

Proctor, R. N. 2000, ‘The Nazi War on Cancer’, 2nd edn, Princeton University Press, New Jersey

Reine Luft, 1941, Cartoon From a 1941 Issue of Reine Luft (Pure Air), viewed 14th December 2017, <;

Weindling, P. 1989,‘Health, race, and German politics between National Unification and Nazism, 1870–1945’, Cambridge University Press, New York.


Post B – CDC Anti-Smoking Campaign

Anti-smoking campaigns need to target a specific audience, and use hard-hitting emotional tactics to successfully inspire a change in behaviour. It has long been thought that most campaigns are aimed at the family or friends of the smoker, who have more leverage than the often ignorant and stubborn smokers themselves.

In Williams’ and Allan’s study, it is proposed that marginalised communities are more likely to resist smoking campaigns. The behaviours associated with smoking ‘signify risk taking, independence, and an anti-authoritarian attitude.’ [Pampel 2006]. this temperament is among the most difficult to approach with marketing tactics, as it is all about resistance, and is often formed via cultural influences. Smoking is encouraged in the ‘inter-exchange and sharing of tobacco; sharing between family and friends may act as reinforcement.’ [Williams & Allan 2014, pg 4].

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2012 campaign featuring anti-smoking advocate Terrie Hall depicts the harsh, unglamorous, confronting reality of the potential, and more importantly, preventable, effects of smoking. It is done through a harrowingly personal recount of her experience of tobacco-related disease in a series of public service announcements titled “Terrie’s tips”. She speaks with a horrifying rasp using an artificial voicebox, and takes us through her daily routine, allowing us to compare our own. The repeated message “she was 53” throughout the campaign emphasises Terrie’s lost opportunities and the tragedy of her premature death. The print advertisement (shown below) highlights the tragedy of losing something so paramount as speaking; torn away by a preventable action.


“My fear now is that I won’t be around to see my grandchildren graduate or get married.”[9]

To target the “thoroughly integrated, embedded behaviour” [Booth-Butterfield, 2003] that is smoking, the approach must be evocative and realistic, as fear-based appeals can lead to rejection of the message and trigger a defensive response [Devlin 2007]. Terrie’s campaign drove 1.6 million smokers to try to quit, and helped more than 100,000 to succeed, inspiring millions of others to encourage friends and family members to quit. The initiative was eminent in that it was the first ever federally-funded national anti-smoking campaign. Healthcare costs related to smoking reached $93 million in 2013, and it remains the number one cause of preventable death in America.

From the CDC campaign, it is evident that an emotionally distressing personal narrative, combined with a sustained coverage, is effective in encouraging smokers to quit. Sandhu (2009) described strategic communication in this context as multidisciplinary “intentional” communication that requires a purposeful actor. The choice of Terrie, who dedicated most of her life in various anti-smoking pursuits, was an apt choice and a brave human to bare her experiences on the line to reach out to others.

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