The Happy Lungs Project

Indonesia houses some of the largest cigarette companies in the world (World Health Organisation, 2018), a reality that becomes quite clear even in the more remote city of Ambon. Although discernible to the untrained eye, the streets are flooded with advertisements which hero masculine qualities and behaviour, drawing a connection between being ‘a strong man’ and smoking (Nichter et al., 2008). Instead of fighting this image of masculinity, we wanted to tap into it from a different angle: their love for their families. As a group of young women we can’t relate to an average middle aged Indonesian male smoker, but what we do relate to is family. Although parenting culture differs from place to place, there is something in the fact that no parent wants their children to smoke.

Our Research + The Insights

A self guided tour in the surrounding area allowed us to be well informed of the culture, local environment and the demographic of tobacco consumers. Identifying colours which were commonly found, advertisement styles in the area and lastly key characteristics of the noted smokers.  

For further understanding, an interview was conducted with two separate hotel staff members of opposite genders. The interview revealed that all the men in their families smoke. Both interviewees had young children, and held concerns as to whether their children would grow up and smoke. However, it was assumed their daughters wouldn’t smoke based off societal expectations of women in Ambon and stigma.

The Process and Possibilities

After diverging and exploring different alternatives as to how this project would be better suited to Ambon, we explored the possibility of creating an educational kit for children to associate smoking with its negative impacts. This first campaign proposal consisted of a colouring and pop-up book amongst other items which shared the same branding and was supported by a social media campaign. We quickly realised however that the materiality was irrelevant in relation to this specific context as it was impractical in terms of production and distribution.

Educational Kit Draft Illustrations (Zhang, 2019)
Comic Draft Illustrations (Zhang, 2019)

In initial developments of a worksheet, we had the idea of portraying tobacco as the antagonist in a comic. We went through the process of cutting up the first draft and eliminating panels to create a succinct story that fit on one A4 page. Ideas for more worksheets followed and were based on the theme of organs as characters and the negative impacts of smoking.

The Roadblocks

By nature, as designers, we wanted to create a sophisticated brand with beautiful print collateral and a refined visual style. The challenge throughout this project was to place less emphasis on the look of the final product but instead creating something genuinely relevant to our audience. This was a pivotal moment in the design process, as we then decided that the work needed meet more specific design limitations.

Design Requirements

   1.  Black and white A4 format for cost effective manufacturing and distribution in order to be accessible to locals.

   2.  Easy to digest; Interactive and engaging for children whilst encouraging parent and child time.

   3.  Begin to teach children critical thinking skills, in particular when engaging with commercial advertising.

   4.  A way to spark questions and open up the difficult conversation a smoker parent would have with their child.

The Campaign

Our campaign, “The Happy Lungs Project” was developed to help parents guide and educate their children from an early age to make informed choices in regards to tobacco consumption, in the form of a series of fun and interactive worksheets. Essentially, it teaches kids not what to think but how to think critically in regards to tobacco culture and advertisements. Specifically we are targeting children aged 4-7 years old as at this stage they are beginning to start school and are becoming more exposed to external influences. As UNICEF states “early childhood, is critical for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. During these years, a child’s newly developing brain is highly responsive to learning” (UNICEF, 2013).

The five loose worksheets are easily downloadable to be printed, photocopied or shared. As initially specified in our design restrictions, the worksheets are also designed to be printed in black and white to maximise cost efficiency and ease of distribution. Available in both English and Bahasa Indonesian, they have added educational value allowing for children to learn in both languages. There is also a potential for the worksheets to be distributed as a flatpack to homes or alternatively health centers, schools, restaurants and businesses. The flatpack would also include the World Health Organisation fact sheet (UNICEF, 2020) as it is a concise summary of the impacts of smoking, which would aim to educate adults who perhaps themselves are uneducated about tobacco.

A successful precedent which also helped inform our project was an initiative in India called MYTRI. This was a classroom curricular comprised of interactive activities which aim to create awareness regarding issues related to tobacco use. As well as impart advocacy skills to students, to enable them to articulate their demands for a tobacco-free school, home and community (MH et al., 2007).

An introduction to our worksheets:

  1. Meet the family: A colour by number activity, which familiarises children with the organs in their body, and even if they don’t understand how as of yet, they will know ‘no smoking means healthy body and a healthy lifestyle’.
  2. Find a word: This proved to be an effective way to allow children to make connections as following a supervised test run with a 5 year old girl, it sparked questions about the words and themes presented in the puzzle. The little girl also requested definitions or further explanations. At the end of the game the child was able to deliver a simple word association about how smoking tobacco is bad for you.
  3. The Chatterbox: This gamifies the short term negative effects of smoking, and encourages fun interactions between parents and children as well as child to child. Creating a game to demonstrate the negative effects of smoking, again encourages children to make associations between smoking and bad.
  4.  Looking for Lung: This comic was created to communicate the narrative of cigarettes as the antagonist and that we should protect and take care of our bodies.
  5. Ad Busters: A connect the dots which reveals to be a spoof on an already existing tobacco advert. This tactic of culture jamming which disrupts or subverts consumer media, was inspired by Australia’s very own BUGA-UP. This idea of learning to think critically is especially useful for children now more than ever in a world where at all times we are being targeted by consumer adverts. 
Kit Photography (Kay, 2019)

Opportunities for Further Development

‘The Happy Lungs Project’ has the potential to build and support an online community, whereby users would be able to download the activity sheets, as well as creating and uploading their own which were effective tools for their children and accommodate for personal learning styles. The campaign’s dynamic nature also allows it to maintain relevance in future years. Based on primary research, a gap in the market was identified as it is expected that tobacco targeted for women will increase in future years. Our campaign is not gender specific and is therefore not limited only to fathers. It also has the potential to expand into a series that includes DIY paper planes, cut out card games or other activities which can be adapted to suit the campaign.

This project is as accessible as a computer, phone or photocopier; it goes beyond the borders of Ambon and throughout Indonesia. This is an easy, efficient and effective way to implement change in tobacco culture starting with the children.

Reference List

BUGA-UP. (2019). BUGA-UP, viewed 24 January 2019. <>.

HRIDAY. (2011). MYTRI Program Resources, viewed 22 January 2019. <>.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. and Nichter, M. 2008, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia, Tobacco Control, vol 18, no 2, pp.98-107,.

The Global Cigarette Industry, World Health Organisation, viewed 24 January 2019. < >.

World Health Organisation. (2018). Fact Sheet 2018 Indonesia, viewed 24 January 2019. <>.


Zhang, A. (2019). Educational Kit, Draft Illustrations, Ambon, created 17 January 2019.

Zhang, A. (2019). Comic Draft Illustrations, Looking for Lung, Ambon, created 19 January 2019.

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