Students and staff join anti-smoking campaign in Indonesia

republished from:

19 February 2018

In January 2018, nineteen students and two lecturers from UTS joined an anti-smoking campaign in Banjarmasin, the ‘city of a thousand rivers’ and also the capital of South Kalimantan, Indonesia.


The UTS students were from various disciplines at the School of Design, including Visual Communication, Fashion and Textile Design and Product Design. Students from the UTS Business School were also among the group.

The Indonesian team was made up of a range of stakeholders from industry and government. UTS students were welcomed by Banjarmasin’s mayor at the town hall, and were supported by local and provincial level government officials, including from the Department of Health and the Department of Tourism.

A campaign team from Vital Strategies travelled from Jakarta and Manila to provide a regional perspective. And a range of local youth based collectives, such as Smoke Free Agents and Banjarmasin Without Smoking (Banjarmasin Tanpa Rokok) brought their ongoing campaigns such as ‘They lie, we die’ into the project.

By approaching tobacco as a ‘wicked problem’, students applied their skills to an important and wide-reaching public health issue in Indonesia, while building a deep cultural understanding of Australia’s closest neighbour. Students were supported to work in collaborative, practical, and research-based ways, designing public outcomes that were launched in a festival on the 19th and 20th of January.

Amongst the work produced, students responded to the prolific use of WhatsApp chatting in Indonesia by designing a public billboard celebrating the reasons young people chose not to smoke. Others designed a workshop to paint new hats for local acil-acil, the women who sell tropical fruit at Banjarmasin’s floating markets. Students also collaborated on short films that were screened in a public square and online. One group of students painted a mural titled ‘Lungs as Wings’ presenting a positive health message to their peers in Banjarmasin.

This Global Studio is lead by design lecturers Dr Alexandra Crosby and Jessica Lea Dunn. Students were funded through the New Columbo Plan.

Tobacco related facts in Indonesia:

  • More than 2,677,000 children and 53,767,000 adults use tobacco in Indonesia.
  • Tobacco kills 217,400 Indonesians every year.
  • Indonesian males are initiating tobacco use at younger and younger ages – many as early as twelve years old. Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, which could cost Indonesia’s economy as much as US$4.5 trillion from 2012 to 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • 36.3% of people aged 15 and above in South Kalimantan are smokers (data: Basic Health Research 2013).
  • 43.8% of Indonesian smokers start when they were 15-19 years old.
  • 84.6% of South Kalimantan’s smokers smoke at home, putting family members including babies and young children at risk of passive smoke.

Learn more about the student projects and the Vital Strategies campaign.

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