Post C: Understanding smoking from a different perspective

It was clear from secondary research that Banjarmasin had distinctly different behaviors and cultural customs in relation to smoking cigarettes. However, this understanding was from a generalised and distance viewpoint. On the 13th of January 2018, we were lucky enough to visit a university in Banjarmasin called Universitas Lambung Mangkurat. I sat down with Dwii Astuti, a 21 year old student who is currently studying primary education. With her passion for the well being of young children in correlation with her experiences in this area, she was eager to discuss her thoughts on anti smoking campaigning. Astuti was visibly excited to learn about the work that we were doing here in Banjarmasin and revealed to me about her personal struggle of having a father heavily smokes around her. When a sense of excitement in her voice, she stated “I think you program is very good. I am very happy that you are have come to Banjarmasin and i hope that you can change smoking here” As she elaborated is become clear just how well educated most of the youth in Banjarmasin are about the danger of smoking, yet they continue to do so and risk their health.

From the overlapping conversations that surroundings us, the desire for change became unignorable. Astuti questioned our plans however, when she stated “What you’re doing is very hard. I have never tried to talk someone out of smoking because I know they don’t want to listen. They know that it is dangerous for their health.” Contrasting ideologies begun to surface, as from an outsider’s viewpoint it seemed like perhaps smoking education was the issue, to which I then questioned, that maybe the methods of communication were at the centre of the problem. In an area in which most people aren’t erger to listen about lifestyles that contrast their own, it would be extremely difficult to initiate conversations in everyday live. Astuti elborates on her challenges fighting against the smoking lifestyle that surrounds her, she states “I try to move away from people that are smoking but when I can’t I just have to cover my face. It’s dangerous for us as passive smoker.” This sparked an engaging discussion on anti smoking campaigning and how perhaps targeting the effects that on passive smokers endure, could be a more powerful message. This is evident in Vital Strategies “Indonesia anti-tobacco campaign-Ike” and shows the kind of persuasive design that Indonesia responses to. (Vital Strategies, 2017)

The interview ventured back to more of a personal conversation, as Astuti revealed her fathers personal struggle with smoking. “My father says that smoking is bad for our health, so he stops for a one or day and then goes back to smoking again. The father’s will protect their children but will be smoking at the same time.” This opened up discussions on smoking in correlation with masculinity and people’s motivations to stop smoking. From this experience interviewing Astuti, it became clear that changes needs to be made in the communication of smoking campaigns. Our design ideas for the mural, was positively reassured as the design acknowledges that a large amount of people smoke in Banjarmasin, however it alternative shows them a way out in which they can reduce the health implications.

Reference List:

Ng, L. Wweinehall, A. Ohman, 2006, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’, Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research, Vol 22, Iss. 6, pp. 794–804.

Nichter, M. Nichter, R. Siwi Padmawati, N. Ng, 2010, ‘Developing a smoke free household initiative: an Indonesian case study’, Vol 84, Iss. 4, pp 578-581.

Yoga Aditama, 2002, ‘Smoking problem in Indonesia’ Medical Journal of Indonesia, Vol 11, Iss. 1, pp. 56-65.

Vital Strategies 2017, Indonesia anti-tobacco campaign- Ike, video recording, Youtube, viewed 20 January 2018, <>.


One thought on “Post C: Understanding smoking from a different perspective

  1. I like how you explored the relationship between someone with a strong anti-smoking stance who still has to live in an environment where they are very often subject to passive smoking. It’s interesting to explore the cultural and gendered norms of Indonesia that dictate that Astuti cannot question her father’s smoking.

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