Post C: Smoking on Campus

When researching how to change the smoking mindset of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta campus, no information was more important than the perspective of students currently experiencing campus life.

I sat down with Chilmi, a 26 year old student studying international studies for his second time after exchanging to Germany and restarting his degree in Indonesia. Because of this, Chilmi had the interesting perspective with both German and Indonesian schooling experience. Chilmi stated that he does not and never had been a smoker, which surprised me given he was the only student out of the many I had asked who was not a smoker.

When asked if his socialising was affected by his not smoking, Chilmi stated that it was often difficult when all his friends gather to smoke and he feels like an “outsider”. He said this was especially difficult in his younger years, which isn’t surprising as research suggests that smoking increases dramatically between the ages of 11 and 17, from 8.2% to 38.7% (Smet, Maes, De Clerca, Haryanti, Winarno 1999). He was raised in a family of male smokers with both his father and brother smoking when he was younger. Although students are aware of the penalties for smoking on campus, Chilmi did not believe that either the non-smoking signs, nor the reminders students receive from lecturers were effective enough in convincing students to stop. 

Photo of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta campus no smoking sign

As part of our group design product I researched the differing sociodemographic factors that can effect and change the determination of mindsets, summarised as education, experience and prejudice. I brought this into the conversation asking if these summarised categories sounded correct in changing ones perception of tobacco around campus. Chilmi responded positively stating that education and experience heavily influenced his decision not to smoke. He also discussed how further introducing other socialising experiences around campus could help in lowering the amount of smokers; having a slow progression into different social experiences as a way of replacing social smoking. 

A person’s values guide their everyday life and decision making. Quality changes through teachers, employees and educational institutions could be most effective therefore when changing the mindset. This can be divided into two parts, ‘the formulation of the mindset and the communication of the mindset’ (Yuliana 2018). The formulation of a mindset can be changed through trend watching, envisioning and formulation of paradigms. Whilst the communication of the mindset that has been formulated can be changed through both personal behaviour and operational behaviour. (Machali, Hidayat 2016). 

Chilmi helped me understand this, as what he experiences through his friends and his own personal reasoning for not smoking can be summarised under his minds formulation and communication.


Machali, I., & Hidayat, A. 2016, The Handbook of Education Management, Jakarta, Kencana Prenada Media.

Yuliana, A. 2018, ‘Total Quality Educational Mindset Formation at Muhammadiyah Elementary School Kleco Yogyakarta’, Tadris: Jurnal Keguruan dan Ilmu Tarbiyah, vol. 3, pp. 1-67.

Smet, B. Maes, L. De Clerca, L. Haryanti, K. Winarno, R.D. 1999, ‘Determinants of smoking behaviour among adolescents in Semarang, Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 186-191. 

Post A: From Designer to Society

Design targeted at our community, and as a reaction to our changing social needs can significantly influence and change our beliefs, actions and perceptions. As we experience and move through daily life, our senses are bombarded by the surrounding factors, many of which shape and trigger emotions.

Designers have always used this to their advantage in their work, across all mediums. This comes into play with Indonesia’s heavily Tobacco influenced  society through sponsored events, design imagery and societal mindset surrounding smoking culture. Tobacco culture has a long and evolved history in Indonesia with rich cultural symbolism and indigenous appeal (REYNOLDS 1999). What can’t be ignored are the design elements of this total immersion of tobacco marketing across the populace; designers play a significant role in the marketing and organisation of such events including tobacco based sponsors. Designers in Indonesia are the methods the tobacco company use to enforce the social culture and response. 

The less regulated Indonesian laws affecting advertising, consumption and the sponsorship of local and international events has led to the pervasive tobacco culture in that country.  In 2010, concern was raised with the Gudang Garang Java Rockin’Land 2010 concert; described as the biggest rock festival in Southeast Asia, being heavily produced and sponsored by cigarette company Gudang Gurang. With student discounts and targeted campaigns the company did not pretence their intentions “Through this grand event, Gudang Garam International attempts to create a closer proximity for the genre’s younger crowds to their idols” (SEATCA 2010). This is a significant and common issue with designers creating influence over products and associated messaging of tobacco companies.  Where other countries have implemented laws to restrict tobacco advertising and endorsement,  Indonesia is still years behind; with economic, social and political factors creating a harder environment for design activist implementation.

Just as the tobacco industry is a designed element of Indonesian culture, so too can design activism be used in changing this mindset. Design activism in Indonesia is aimed at generating projects which envision a different value system; attempting to change how the society perceive and respond to tobacco products. Design activism implies “change and transformation […] providing visibility to the larger public” (BOHEMIA 2017). This can be implemented in Indonesia through the intended disassociation of culture and tobacco; combined with the highlighted value of more creative endeavours for designers. The more designers disconnect from the tobacco industry and help present activistic values, the more conscious and subconscious factors in everyday life will leave positive outcomes for Indonesians.


ASEAN, 2010, International artists performing at Indonesian tobacco-sponsored rock festival despite protests, SEATCA, Thailand, viewed 18th December 2019, <>.

Bohemia, E. Predeville, S. 2017, ‘Exploring articulations of design activism’, Design Management Academy, vol. 4, pp. 843-864.

Medicine Man, How does design affect our lives?, marketing agency, London, viewed 18th December 2019, <>.

Reynolds, C. 1999, ’Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: the defining characteristics for success’, BMJ, vol. 8, pp. 85-88.

Post D: Cultural Influences with Tobacco

Indonesia is amongst the highest cigarette consuming countries in the world. Demographic and social factors contribute enormously to the persuasive cigarette smoking culture, and this reduces the effect of health concerns and related research on the smoking population. Civilians from an early age are surrounded by both cultural values and tobacco-based commonality contributing to what we see in Indonesia today. 

Tobacco advertising and availability is almost completely unregulated by Indonesian law. The tobacco industries’ marketing is ubiquitous throughout both rural and urban areas (Sirichotiratana 2008). Known as Indonesia’s cultural centre, Yogyakarta is intentionally covered with a multitude of tobacco billboards and cloth banners. Similarly, many of Yogyakarta’s storefronts feature smaller but still prominent tobacco reminders and product based adverts. Many kiosk and shop owners are given cash payments in return for their advertisement based decoration. Much of this can be attributed to the many governmental benefits contributed by the Indonesian tobacco industry, with taxes and industry revenues providing a large portion of government income (Nichter 2009).

Map of Yogyakarta City highlighting main roads with dots focussing on larger commercial areas.

Cigarette taxes are an ever growing source of national revenues, increasing from 4% of total government revenue in 1996 to 10% in 2002 (Nichter 2009). The Indonesian government relies so heavily on the revenue from cigarette exec taxes, that the Indonesian Minister of Finance stated,

“I empathise with the idea of getting people to stop smoking, but for now the cost is too high,”

when discussing Indonesia’s economic situation (Achadi 2005). Much of this revenue goes towards the construction of shared spaces and street based civilian utilities, creating a heavily conflicted paradox with regard to public health.

Smoking in Javanese society is significantly more prevalent with males than females, and to a degree it has become a culturally internalised habit. A focus study on young Indonesian boys shows a mindset whereby smoking amongst their family members and social life creates a shared commonality. Smoking is so apparent that the boys would often see both students and teachers smoking in the schoolyard or even in the classroom (Nawi, Weinehall & O ̈ hman 2007). A significant local influence for these children could also be the heavy prominence of Tobacco sponsorship of cultural, musical and sporting events. In 2007 within a span of 10 months there were a recorded 1350 tobacco based sponsored events in addition to the prominence of cigarette advertising across the daily landscape.


Achadi, A., Soerojo, W. & Barber, S. ‘The relevance and prospects of advancing tobacco control in Indonesia’, Health Policy, vol. 5, no. 72, pp. 333–349.

Kusumawardani, N., Tarigan, I. & Schlotheuber, A. 2018, ‘Socio-economic, demographic and geographic correlates of cigarette smoking among Indonesian adolescents’, Global Health Action, vol. 11.

Nawi, L. & Weinehall, A., 2007, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man—Indonesian teenage boys views about smoking’, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 794–804.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S. & Danardono, M. 2019, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia’, University of Arizona, vol. 18, pp. 98-107.

Sirichotiratana, N., Sovann, S. & Aditama, T. 2008, ‘Linking data to tobacco control program action among students aged 13-15 in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states’, Tob Control, vol. 17, pp. 372–378.

Post B: Morbid Creativity

By Ronan Collins

As a child, no public health campaign left a more memorable impact than the Metro Trains Melbourne campaign to promote railway safety; Dumb Ways to Die. Since it’s 2012 creation, the campaign evolved into a multi-channel transdisciplinary product branching over almost every conceivable form of media. Intended to reduce avoidable deaths and accidents around Melbourne train-tracks, it aimed to change the public mindset towards unsafe behaviour. 

Metro Melbourne, 2012, Dumb Ways to Die, Video Recording.

Metro Trains hired advertisement agency McCann Melbourne with aims at creating entertainment rather than didactic advertising (Mescall 2013). Prime objectives included a reduction of accidents around level crossings and station platforms, the generating of PR regarding the message of rail safety, the creation of a safety pledge system and to largely increase public awareness around train transport (Australian Effie Awards 2013). With its first implementation being a YouTube video uploaded 12 November 2012; within 14 days the video had reached 30 million views. This success can be credited to a multitude of design choices; both the song and animation’s simplistic and catchy direction combined with the use of humour in its premise. It received an extremely warm reception which extended much further than Victoria, promoting railway safety throughout Australia. This evolved into a multi-channel product with assets of the campaign transformed into teaching tools for kids in the form of a book, video games, and more song releases (Diaz 2013). Locally, Metro Train posters featuring previously animated characters were placed in and around stations.

According to Metro Trains general manager Leah Waymark, the campaign saw a 20% drop in “risky behaviour” within 3 months of the video’s release (Waymark 2013). Within a year, the near miss and accidents per million kilometres decreased from 13.29 to 9.17 (McCann 2013). Although the campaign had a large impact on a younger audience than expected, and is suggested to have not impacted the target demographic to such a degree (Ward 2015). Adrian Mills stated that the impact of the campaign has transformed into a more long term model with a “cohort of young Victorians who have played a rail safety message on their phones by the time they start taking public transport themselves”.

Universally, the nature of subverting the expectations of a public service announcement in a method which is both simplistic and appealing can be further explored. Similar tactics can be used in raising awareness regarding the ‘addictive and harmful’ nature of Tobacco (FCTC 2015) with a focus on public consumers making ‘dumb’ choices. 


Diaz, A. 2013, ‘Inside Dumb Ways to Die’, ‘Advertising Age’, vol. 84, Iss. 40, pp. 4-7.

Katumba, K. 2018, ‘Campaign of the week: Dumb Ways to Die’, Smart Insights, 28 September, viewed 20 November 2019, <>.

McCann Melbourne, 2012. Dumb Ways to Die Posters, Metro Trains, viewed 21 November 2019, <>.

Metro Melbourne, 2012, Dumb Ways to Die, Video Recording, YouTube, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Ward, M. 2015, ‘Has Dumb Ways to Die Been Effective?’, Mumbrella, 30 January, viewed 20 November 2019, <>.

World Health Organisation, 2015, ‘WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Guidelines for Implementation of Article 5.3 Articles 8 to 14’, 2013 Edition, World Health Organisation, Geneva Switzerland.