Post A: The damage of design in Tobacco and Gambling advertising

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 Australia has the greatest prevalence of problem gambling. Photo: Carol Von Canon

Gambling is more prevalent in Australia than any other nation around the world, according to data gathered by the Queensland Statisticians office “in total Australians lost $23.7 billion on all forms of gambling in 2016-17 — pokies, lotteries, casinos, racing and sports betting. That’s $1,251 for every man and woman over the age of 18.”(Mark, 2018). In spite of our country only accounting for less than 1% of the world’s population we currently have a fifth of the world’s pokies. We also have to deal with the fact that the “industry is a major donor to lawmakers and the Coalition government, and previous attempts at reform have failed. States and territories reaped $5.8 billion in taxes from gambling in the year through June 2015” (Scott & Heath, 2016).

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Money spent on gambling last year, in US dollars. Source: Bloomberg

We have access to data showing that “the social cost of gambling to the community is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion a year”, there is a rise of people seeking counselling for problem gambling and we have a rise in suicides from financial issues associated with gambling (Scott & Heath, 2016). Yet there is no movement in the policies to protect people from the system which is designed to be addictive with detrimental effects to their finances as well as their mental health. We can see that in our gambling behavior “the biggest change is in sports betting, with a 15 per cent increase in the amount of money Australians lost from the previous year in that category.” (Mark, 2018). In Australia gambling advertising is loosely regulated and there is almost no restriction on the development of apps which facilitate the ease of gambling behavior, sports betting apps are being developed faster and faster and making the act of placing bets more seamless.

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Data on gambling in Australia, Source: Bloomberg

We can see that there are parallels to the tobacco problem being faced in Indonesia, the unregulated advertising and push of making the product more appealing. In spite of vast amounts of data available to the public and policy makers the government in Indonesia seems extremely hesitant to challenge and restrict big tobacco for fear of the economic repercussions. One thing that the research is revealing is that the economic benefits are in actuality limited and that the social cost will begin to outweigh the money reaped from tax paying companies (Ahsan et al, 2008). Designers need to accept that they have an impact which is tangible through the work that they choose to undertake. They can either design slicker packaging, smoother apps, big aspirational adds and sell people highly addictive vices or they can try to mitigate the damage being done by these industries which are having detrimental effects on real human lives.



Ahsan. A., Adioetomo. S., Barber. S., Setyonaluri. D. 2008. Tobacco Economics in Indonesia. Bloomberg Philanthopies.

Mark. D., 2018. World’s worst gamblers: Australia’s destructive love affair with sports betting continues to grow. ABC News. Viewed 18th December 2018.

Scott. J. & Heath. J. 2016. Gambling is killing one Australian a day, but it rakes in billions in tax. Sydney Morning Herald. Viewed 18th Dec 2018.

Post C: An interview with a modern student.


My interview was conducted in the process of researching the complex matrix of social beliefs about smoking among university students in Surabaya. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to Neesa, a university student from ITS who also happened to be from the small but expanding percentage of the population who are young female smokers. We had talked to a few of Neesa’s peers prior to this interview and they had offered perspectives of smoking in line with the narratives we had found readily available in academic research, those of smoking being a stigmatised behaviour among women with allusions to prostitution, antisocial behaviour and rebellion against the Indonesian way of life. The perspective of most of the peers was that smoking was harmful, wrong and they could not understand why people would begin to smoke in spite of all these facts.

Neesa offered a different perspective, we were given an insight into the movement towards modern Indonesia with her opinion of the freedom that young women are embracing to engage in behaviours which have previously been stigmatised. Neesa also gave us a fascinating insight into the place of the behaviour among her peers, she stated that as a freshman at university her senior students offered her cigarettes during the first ‘hazing’ week stating that she and her peers would need them to cope with the stress of university life. The ritual of smoking has taken a place in her life which appears to mirror this suggestion from her elder students as her current smoking practice tends to be in the afternoon post university where she will meet up with her friends to smoke and unwind.

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One of the areas we talked about at length was about the understanding of health effects of smoking and how she believes her smoking affects how others view her. She said that she is aware of the health effects but is not able to quit because she would have nothing to take smoking’s place as a means of relaxing. An interesting statistic recorded in the WHO report on Indonesia showed that only “9.5% of daily smokers are successful in quitting” which is astonishingly low (2018). It was interesting to hear this as it showed a clear understanding of the risks she was taking in continuing to smoke and yet she was adamant that smoking was crucial to her success at university. We can see this reflected in the data, it has been published that “Up to one-half of the 57 million smokers in Indonesia today will die of tobacco-related illnesses. Some 78 percent of Indonesians started smoking before the age of 19 years.” (Barber Et. Al. 2008). This data is free to download and readily available as well as having been released in government education campaigns and yet even highly intelligent and educated individuals such as Neesa maintain their smoking habit for various social reasons.



Barber. S., Adioetomo. S., Ahsan. A., Setyonnaluri. 2008. Tobacco Economics in Indonesia. Bloomberg Philanthropies. 978-2-914365-40-6.

WHO. 2018. Factsheet 2018 – Indonesia. WHO Office for South-East Asia. Viewed 13 Dec 2018.;jsessionid=98444EFF9BF4C980BF238B9BFFE3EF9D?sequence=1

D. Smoke free? Locations in the Arab quarter of smoke free environments.

The Indonesian government has released guidelines and regulations for public spaces which should remain smoke free, these have manifested in the placement of ‘no smoking’ signs in areas such as schools, healthcare facilities and places of worship. These regulations are a response to the quite startling statistics surrounding tobacco consumption in Indonesia. In 2008 WHO inquiry into the tobacco issue ranked Indonesia the 3rd highest smoker per capita in the world. A spokesperson from the KPAI (an Indonesian government initiative to protect children’s rights), Chairman Hadi Supeno, stated that “24 percent of male and 2 percent of female children aged between 12 and 15 started to smoke. The number of children exposing to the danger of smoking was even greater as 70 percent of men in the families were active smokers.”(People’s daily online, 2010).

Although the government has created policies of smoke free environments the reality is far from the legislation, “Even though schools are supposed to be smoke free areas, the informants often see their male teachers smoking in their offices, in the schoolyard and in classes.” (Nawi et al. 2007). The students at the schools watch the behaviour of the teachers and over time a model for behaviour is formed, being taught that you shouldn’t smoke will continue to be unsuccessful in these environments if the students are expected to watch their teachers and peers engage in smoking behaviour. Other individuals interviewed stated that they “smoked together with their friends on their way to and from school, at the bus/train station, at amusement centres when they socialize and even in the mosque.” the behaviour is ubiquitous with sociality and as a result even places of worship are not maintained as smoke free.


My map of the Arab district was an attempt to show the places that young people go to when they are learning about their world, society and how to be good citizens of their city. These places such as the schools and mosques should have non-smoking signage and dedicated smoke free zones have been plotted onto the Arab Quarter to show locations that ideally should be safe places and smoke free for the young people of the area. Whether this is currently a reality is hard to prove but with more government support and growing awareness these areas could become centres for a new generation of smoke free Indonesians.



Nawi Ng, Weinehall, L. and Öhman, A. 2007, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Health Education Research Volume 22, Issue 6, pp. 794‐804,

People’s Daily Online. Indonesia struggling to deter children from smoking. Written 8th Feb 2010,, Accessed 6th Dec 2018.

B. Malaysia’s “Tak Nak (Don’t want)” campaign.

In 2004 Malaysia rolled out its bold Tak Nak campaign in an effort to cause a public health intervention to the national tobacco problem. They sought to use a counter advertising campaign across all available media to denormalise and deglamourize the national view of smoking. This efforts primary goals were to dissuade a new generation from smoking, reduce the amount of young people taking up smoking and to prompt people who already smoke to quit and seek help during the quitting process from available resources. The program was funded by the government aiming to mitigate future impact on both the public health and economy of the country, the spending allowed advertising on TV, radio, billboards, cinemas as well as print and social media.

Data from the ITC project showed that the success of the campaign lay predominantly in awareness with “The majority (72%) of smokers feel that campaigns make smoking less socially desirable and almost half (43%) of smokers and quitters said that campaigns made them more likely to quit or stay quit.” (ITC National report Malaysia, 2012). We can also see other data supporting the success of  the campaign where “Based on a Global Youth Tobacco Survey, smoking prevalence among Malaysians aged 13 to 15 is on a decline, from 20.2 per cent in 2003 to 18.2 percent in 2009 and 14.8 per cent in 2016.” (Arumgam, 2018).

The campaign was utilising a cognitive behavioural model to target the smokers at multiple stages of the behavioural change, this can be seen in the diagram below sourced from Dr Omar’s media dialogue for the ITC.

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Dr Maizurah Omar representation of Tak Nak Cognitive behavioural model <>

You can clearly see that the campaign was designed to take into account smokers in all stages of the quitting process from those in the precontemplative stage, those who don’t know that smoking is a problem, to those in the maintenance stage, individuals who have quit and are trying to continue and consolidate good habits. The campaign spanned the process from its use of counter advertising and infomercials which teach those who may not know the ill effects of smoking. It then offered material which helped people to form plans of action with which to excecute their quitting journey to make the first step less intimidating. The other element of the Tak Nak initiative was the MQuit program which offered support to those who are in the process of quitting.

Criticism of the project was limited, researchers found that the impact of the campaign tapered off over time which is common among fear based advertising as the viewer becomes desensitised over numerous exposures (Hong etal. 2013). The authors also believed that the campaigns use of fear worked initially but to truly have a successful campaign you need to tie the information into the social narrative of a place and the Tak Nak campaign failed to change the place of tabacco smoking in Malaysian society.


Arumgam, T. 2018. No smoking campaigns having impact on the young. Viewed 26th November 2018. <>

Hong, Y.H., Soh, P., Khan, N., Abdullah, M.M., & Heng Teh, B. 2013. Effectiveness of Anti-Smoking Advertising: The Roles of Message and Media. International Journal of Business and Management. 8. 10.5539/ijbm.v8n19p55.

The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project 2012, ITC Malaysia National Report, March 2012. Viewed 26th November 2018. <>

Omar, M. 2007. Tak Nak Anti-Tabacco Media Campaign in Malaysia. ITC Project files. Viewed 26th November 2018. <>