Post B: Life Education’s ‘Healthy Harold’

By April Jiang

Yandaran State school, 2017, Yandaran State School students and Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett at the Life Education van, News Mail, viewed 22 November 2019,

The empowerment of children brought by educational health and safety services acts as an effective tool for deeper understanding and engaging future decisions. The design of ‘Life Education’s’ Healthy Harold program, represents a successful platform that attracts the engagement of children in the decision-making toward their health and safety. The service reveals the effectiveness of empathy as a tool enabling immersion rather than confrontation as a basis for understanding.

Healthy Harold is a non-for-profit mobile service funded by the government that has been successfully operating for 40 years. More than 6 million young Australians have participated in the program since 1979, resulting Healthy Harold to become an Australian icon. The success of the program is reflected in the decades of service and in the outbursts toward the government’s decision of withdrawing funds in 2017. The power of social media was revealed in the immediate backlash of nostalgic Harold supporters, that forced the government to change their decision.

The giraffe puppet signifies friendly and comforting connotations for children, while heightening their attention, and ultimately achieving deeper understandings of health topics. The character of Harold is successfully manifested; being one that is funny, cute and memorable to the kids, enabling a reason for them to listen to him. It’s important to have “a platform like Life Education that reaches students on their level and helps educate them about the choices they will face” (Tran 2019). For children, there is an importance to the attitude brought by learning that ultimately saturates their attention and understanding. Overtime, although “children have changed in their knowledge and their responses to questions about drugs, their level of enthusiasm for learning is the same.” (Schilt 2017)

Similarly, in a paper written by Lynne Hall, she addresses the impact of affective interactions on the feelings and emotions of children, achieved through empathising with synthetic characters. Through this she discovers that “empathising with characters permits a deeper exploration and understanding of sensitive social and personal issues” (Hall 2005). This is evident in joy brought to children through interacting with Harold. By sharing subtle examples of his healthy lifestyle, it encourages children through their curiosity of the character.

In being a program that is designed very specifically for the appeal of children, it acts as a solution in providing information, understanding, skills and strategies, promoting safe decisions about their own health and well-being, in an empowering way. As founder of Life education, Ted Noffs states,

“Let’s not frighten our kids with scare tactics so they act in ways that we think are best for them. Let’s motivate and empower them so they can and will actively draw on their own knowledge to make safer and healthier choices.”

Tedd Noffs, Founder of Life Education Australia.

The elements of empowerment and encouragement become effective tools toward the development on their future growth and decisions. This allows children the opportunity to willingly be immersed in a learning experience as opposed to being frightened or confronted with threatening or displeasing campaigns unfit for their age.

In response to the Indonesian epidemic of tobacco usage, there is potential in similarly focusing on the immersion of an empathetic and educational experience. Since there is a high demand for cigarettes even for young children (Tjandra 2018), there seems to be a low awareness of health and safety in schools. By utilising the elements and tools identified in Life Education’s Healthy Harold, children can be empowered and encouraged to eliminate tobacco activity.


Post B: Slip Slop Slap

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Campaign

The phrase ‘Slip Slop Slap’ has been ingrained into our memories as with other sun-conscious Aussie sayings such as ‘No Hat No Play’. The slogan, ‘Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat’, began as a transdisciplinary top-down mass-media campaign in the 1980s promoting sun-health for families and was soon synonymous with sun protection for everyone by the end of the next decade. It was created by the Anti-Cancer Council as funded by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, a fund that was created by taxing cigarettes and redirecting the money raised into health promotion and the sponsorship of sports and arts (Marks, R. 1990). What started out as a response to the need to increase the awareness of the devastating effects of skin cancer has grown into an ongoing series of campaigns set to change perceptions in individuals, communities and organisations.

The Context

(Montague, M. 2001)

Media messages are always carefully tailored with the prevailing culture and community awareness. The early introduction of the campaign was “positive, encouraging, and designed to be happy” (Montague M. et al. 2001, p. 301) with Sid the Seagull educating the ways to enjoy our wonderful climate whilst having fun.  With the growing sophistication of the public’s knowledge, the campaign moved onto the next stage of providing detailed information explaining the protective methods in preventing skin cancer. This stage of the campaign was received well with adults, however, both approaches failed to reach young adults as they were perceived to be too childish and too content-heavy. Research conducted in high school subjects revealed that although the ‘Slip Slop Slap’ slogan was highly recalled by these students, the childhood associations of cartoons and jingles had lowered the perceived urgency to act. Results shown preference to anti-smoking and safe-driving campaigns with ‘shock’ value to communicate consequences. This resulted in the introduction of hard-hitting, graphic advertisements such as ‘Time Bomb’ depicting the real-life effects on real people (Paul C. et al. 2003). The analytical and reflective reactions to the results signify the early successes of the campaign. However, raising awareness of skin cancer prevention was only the first step, now change needed to be seen.

(Cancer Council Victoria 2010)

The Change

The early identifier of the campaign’s success in changing attitudes was in conducting surveys in the prevailing beach-culture of Australian lifestyle. Since the campaign was launched, the percentage of Victorians who “liked to get a suntan [decreased] from 61% in 1988 to 35% in 1998… those agreeing that ‘I feel more healthy with a suntan’ [fell] from 51% to 20%… [also resulting in] a 50% reduction in people getting sunburnt.” (Montague, M. et al. 2001, p.2-3). The program researchers understood that in order to make structural and environmental change, shifts in behaviours and attitudes needed to be made first. From then, sun protection policies have been adopted in trade unions, primary schools, local government authorities, sport and leisure organisations, as well as workplaces (Redman, K. et al. 2001). Since the beginning of the campaign, it had been found that “rates of [melanoma incidence] has slowed since” and that an estimated “43,000 skin cancers and 1,400 skin cancer deaths in Victoria [have been prevented].” (Shih, S. et al. 2017).

Through ongoing evaluation and implementation of strategies, what began as a catchy jingle has developed into the national awareness of skin cancer prevention. By understanding the issue and the community, effective campaigns are created to reduce the devastating grasp of skin cancer on the population. This is a valuable lesson for the success of public health campaigns in a range of contexts, such as the tobacco problem in Indonesia. Although this issue’s complete erradication is far in the future, it is recognised that “the job is not finished, but much has been accomplished.” (Montague, M. 2001).


Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Slip! Slop! Slap! – The original Sid the seagull video, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Cancer Council Victoria 2010, Timebomb – SunSmart, advertisement, YouTube, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Marks, R. 1990, ‘Skin cancer control in the 1990’s, from Slip! Slop! Slap! to SunSmart’, Australia’s J. Dermatol, vol. 31, pp. 1-4.

Montague, M. Roland, B. & Sinclair, C. 2001, ‘Slip! Slop! Slap! and SunSmart, 1980-2000: Skin cancer control and 20 years of population-based campaigning’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28, pp. 290-301.

Paul, C. Tzelepis, F. Girgis, A. & Parfitt, N. 2003, ‘The Slip Slop Slap years: Have they had a lasting impact on today’s adolescents?’, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 14, pp 219-21.

Redman, K. Sinclair, C. & Stent, S. 2001, ‘SunSmart – Twenty years on’, Health Education & Behaviour, vol. 28.

Shih, STF. Carter, R. Heward, S. & Sinclair, C. 2017, New study shows SunSmart success as melanomas decrease in Victoria, Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <;.

Post B: ‘The Plain Packaging Act 2011’ as a movement for social change in Australian public health.

The problem of tobacco is one of the largest causes of death and disease Australia wide, killing 19,000 citizens per year (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019). It has been a goal of the Federal and State governments, to abolish this issue and to ensure that consumers are well informed of the extreme health concerns associated with tobacco; since the 1970s. 

Smoking is not only known to cause cancer, but also, heart disease, strokes, renal and eye diseases and many respiratory conditions which can decrease the quality and quantity of life, for an individual significantly. There have been a range of campaigns implemented since 1973 to reduce the rates of smoking. These have led to policies such as taxation on tobacco products, banning of advertising and laws against smoking in certain areas, such as restaurants.  

Tobacco culture in Australia has thus been impacted forever, as children are even taught about its negative impacts in school. The Australian government has taken all necessary measures to ensure that people are educated and not blind to the extreme consequences of the choice to smoke. Despite a broad range of regulatory measures which were in place to reduce tobacco use, the number of Australian smokers was still unacceptably high (The Department of Health, 2016).

Perhaps the most successful non-profit social change campaign, has been the ‘plain packaging’ initiative which has led to policy change in advertising and the design of cigarette packaging. The ‘Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011’ led to the removal of all branding, slogans and attractive designs and embellishments on tobacco packaging within Australia (Bayly M, Scollo M, 2017). It was the worlds first legislation to standardise tobacco packaging and was brought about as a response to the dangerous marketing of the tobacco industry which was highly successful through prestigious looking packaging with foiling and embossing, which was intended to provoke ideas that one brand was more superior to another.  The packaging was the key promotional vehicle which provided the misleading advertisement of a product which was known to cause death. 

 As of 2012, all tobacco packaging would include clear and direct warnings which would increase in size from 30% of the box to 75% on the front, as well as 90% of the back of the box. These warnings included bold text, and disturbing images showing the long term effects of smoking. Using shock tactics to generate specific psychological responses was successful, as this appealed to consumer emotions by provoking thoughts about the individuals own future if they were to continue smoking. The name of the company was now only allowed to be displayed in a small generic font and positioning, so that no brand could be showcased as more superior and luxurious. 

Before and After the Plain Packaging Act was implemented, (Hammond, 2017). 

Although this initiative and policy was carried out through packaging changes, it was also supported by non-profit government authorised TV advertisements which brought the images on the packaging to life. These mass media campaigns showed cancer sufferers and amputees, displaying their shocking quality of life, due to their body’s inability to function as it should. They aimed to change social behaviour and affect decision making when it came to choosing whether or not to smoke.  

Guidelines for The Plain Packaging Act 2011, (World Health Organisation, 2012).

The policy was successful in reducing the glamour and appeal of tobacco products, increasing knowledge of the effects of smoking, and promoting the Quitline. Within one year of the plain packaging initiative, 85% of smokers reported that they disliked the look of the packaging and it was not appealing to them. Attitudes changed in the 18-29 year old age bracket as 30% were convinced that the brands did not differ in quality. The number of Quitline calls in the first month increased by 78%, which led to countless smokers giving up their addiction due to the shocking warnings which they were forced to witness each time they reached for a cigarette (Medical Journal of Australia, 2014)

Overall, the campaign and policy brought about significant social/behavioural change due to a higher level of awareness into the long term impacts of tobacco use. The challenges associated with such a campaign, would be the commitment required to maintain the research process and monitoring of results. As well as the sustained effort required to create innovative solutions so that comprehensive approaches would be effective (Commonwealth of Australia, 2012). This policy is one which governments could easily implement worldwide, in particular, in Central Java, Indonesia, who would benefit from this policy in an attempt to provoke social and behavioural change though education of tobacco addiction rather than promoting the use of tobacco, allowing the industry to manipulate their people. 


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Smoking, viewed 18 November 2019, <>. 

 Bayly M, Scollo M 2017, 10.9 Brand portfolio strategies in the Australian market, viewed 18 November 2019, <>. 

Commonwealth of Australia 2012, National Tobacco strategy 2012-2018, Edition 1, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

Scollo M, Bayly M, Wakefield M, 2015, Plain packaging: a logical progression for tobacco control in one of the world’s ‘darkest markets’, Tobacco Control 2015, BMJ Journals, viewed 18 November 2019, <>. 

The Department of Health 2016, Post-Implementation Review Tobacco Plain Packaging 2016, Australian Government, Canberra. 

Young, J. M, Stacey, I , Dobbins, T. A, Dunlop, S, Dessaix, A. L. and Currow, D. C. 2014, Association between tobacco plain packaging and Quitline calls: a population‐based, interrupted time‐series analysis, Medical Journal of Australia, Volume 200, Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Australia.


David Hammond PhD, 2017, Nothing plain about plain packaging, viewed 18 November 2019, <>. 

World Health Organisation, 2012, Get ready for plain packaging, viewed 18 November 2019, <>. 

POST B: Harnessing the viral nature of social media to promote HIV testing.

South Africa has the highest HIV infection rate in the world. Despite the work done by the government and numerous NGO’s to educate people on the dangers of HIV and its prevention methods, it remains prevalent with 7.7 million people living with HIV in South Africa alone (UNAIDS 2019). Until recently, one of the key issues in addressing this problem has been the lack of engagement offered by traditional public announcements and warnings, particularly towards young people.

‘MTV #FCKHIV Campaign’ (Oglivy South Africa, 2017)

In order to resonate with the youth, social media campaigns such as the #FCKHIV movement created by MTV and Oglivy (2017) have been necessitated to modernise and stress the issue. This campaign promoted HIV testing in typical MTV fashion, with bright, bold colours and a youthful spin on the process. Recognising the dreariness of dry statistics, the campaign promoted the check as an act of rebellion and protest against the disease, asking people to “give HIV the middle finger” by using their middle finger for the check and encouraging them to post pictures with the hashtag #FCKHIV. Due to the viral nature of social media, this campaign had an easily measurable effect in terms of awareness; it became the top trending topic within 9 minutes and reached 6.8 million impressions across social media (Oglivy South Africa 2017).

The #FCKHIV social media campaign hasn’t been the only factor improving the situation in South Africa. The introduction of a nationwide HIV testing and counselling campaign in 2010 (HTC) and the HTC revitalisation strategy in 2013 have undeniably been the most crucial catalysts for more than 10 million people in South Africa to test for HIV each year (Avert 2019)(Johnson et al 2019). Yet the MTV campaign and a host of other modern formats for raising awareness such as television shows (MTV Shuga)(Lopez & Orozco 2016), are also vital in tackling issues surrounding the stigmas and prejudices surrounding HIV and HIV testing (Bos et al 2008, p. 52), making it more approachable. The combination of both accessibility and specific-target campaigns has lead to significant progress in recent years, and in 2017 South Africa reached the first of UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets (UNAIDS 2019), allowing 90% of people living with HIV to be aware of their status as opposed to 66.2% in 2014 (Avert 2019).

This method of raising awareness by targeting a younger demographic through social media and interactive engagement, may be an apt and interesting avenue to explore in relation to Indonesia’s tobacco crisis, particularly due to its prevalence among children and young people (Wibawa 2019). It could act as a more friendly alternative to the scare-tactics used in most public messages surrounding the issue.


Avert, 2019, HIV and Aids in South Africa, Brighton, viewed 17 November 2019, <;.

Bos, A.E.R., Meiberg, A.E., Onya, H.E. & Schaalma, H.P. 2008, ‘Fear of stigmatization as barrier to voluntary HIV counselling and testing in South Africa’, East African Journal of Public Health, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 49-54, viewed 18 November 2019, < >.

Govathson, C., Johnson, L.F., Meyer-Rath, G. & van Rensburg, C. 2019, ‘Optimal HIV testing strategies for South Africa: a model-based evaluation of population-level impact and cost-effectiveness’, Science Reports, no. 12621, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Lopez, K. & Orozco, V. 2016, ‘The newest weapon against HIV/AIDS in Africa? MTV’, Voices: Perspectives on development, weblog, World Bank Blogs, June 30, viewed 19 November 2019 <>.

MTV & Oglivy, 2019, #FCKHIV, video, Vimeo, viewed 17 November 2019,

Oglivy, 2019, #FCKHIV Summary, Creative Pool, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

UNAIDS, 2019, UNAIDS South Africa Data, Geneva, viewed 17 November 2019, <;

UNAIDS, 2019, 90-90-90: Treatment for all, Geneva, viewed 17 November 2019, <>

Wibaya, T. 2019, Tackling Indonesia’s smoking addiction a ‘double-edged sword’, ABC, Sydney, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

POST B: Happy New Smear

Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths amongst women globally, with approximately 530,000 new cases every year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016) In Australia, numerous cervical cancer initiatives have appeared over the past two decades via a diverse range of media, encouraging women to receive regular check ups and the often “uncomfortable” Pap test. In December 2017, the two-yearly Pap test was removed and reintroduced with the five-yearly National Cervical Screening Program; a more effective and accurate technology used to detect potentially problematic signs. (Medianet, 2018) As a result of the change, in 2018 The Aids Council of New South Wales introduced a ground-breaking campaign titled ‘The Inner Circle’, that aimed to not only educate the importance and increase participation in cervical screening, but build awareness amongst all members of the LGBTIQ+ community with a cervix. (JOY 94.9, 2018)

‘The Inner Circle’ campaign is one funded through a grant from the Cancer Institute NSW and is the first large-scale, multi-platform effort to introduce the changes to screening to any community across Australia. They incorporate digital, social and direct community engagement approaches, as well as public placements in key locations across Sydney (Medianet, 2018) to reduce stigma and promote the health service, specifically targeting the LGBTIQ+ community who are often left out of ‘mainstream’ conversation on the topic. President of ACON, Dr Justin Koonin states “it was crucial the campaign reached not just ‘lesbians’ but the full spectrum of LGBTIQ people with a cervix. It had to reflect the diversity and address the misconceptions faced by this group.” (Koonin, 2018)

Inner Circle- Happy New Smear, Aids Council of New South Wales, 2018

The Inner Circle launched on New Years Day, 2018 with a video posted to Facebook called ‘Happy New Smear’, which would be the first of many successful projects designed under the initiative. Its success is measured in numbers, with this video shared internationally and viewed more than 14,000 times. The following videos that recognised individual experiences generated close to 100,000 views while its website engaged with 2500 visitors per month. (Goodwork Agency, 2018)

“A 2014 survey found that 20 per cent of lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Sydney had never had a Pap test. People with trans experience face significant issues relating to cervical screening, such as trans men who report avoiding screening out of fear of discrimination.” (Price, 2018, para. 8) Partnering with Family Planning NSW, the campaign introduced the CheckOut clinic located in Surry Hills, Sydney, “delivering high quality services in a community-based setting.” (Bassil, 2018, para. 14)

In 2018, the initiative won the Australian Good Design Award in the Communication Design category, in recognition for outstanding design and innovation. The Inner Circle campaign continues to achieve their goals of raising awareness and interacting with LGBTIQ+ people, demonstrating a “progressive way of cervical screening.” (McGregor, 2018)

ACON Health 2018, Inner Circle – Happy New Smear, video recording, Youtube, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2018, Check OUT The Inner Circle: Promoting Regular Cervical Screening For LGBTIQ People, Science and Medical Media Release, Medianet, Australian Associated Press, NSW, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, About ACON, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Aids Council of New South Wales 2019, New Campaign To Answer Your Questions About LGBTIQ Cervical Screening, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

Good Work 2018, don’t just make it look and sound good. Make it save lives., viewed 19 November 2019, <>

Good Work 2018, goodwork wins 2018 Good Design Award® for The Inner Circle, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

McGregor, V. 2018, ‘The Informer’, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, radio broadcast, JOY 94.9, Melbourne, 6 February, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

PHHA 2018, Top 10 public health successes over the last 20 years, PHAA Monograph Series no. 2, Canberra: Public Health Association of Australia, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

The Inner Circle AU, About the Project, The Inner Circle, ACON, Sydney, viewed 18 November 2019, <>

William Small Jr, M.D., Monica, A., Linus, T., 2017, ‘Cervival Cancer: A Global Health Crisis’, Cancer, vol. 123, no. 13, viewed 19 November 2019, <>

POST B-Consider about how does tobacco tax influence people in Australia

Excise taxes and duties on tobacco have been increased by 25 % since April 30, 2010. From 2013 to 2017, tobacco taxes increased 12.5 % each year. Four annual excise and customs duty increases were scheduled from 2013-17, 20, 21 followed by a further Four 12.5% annual increases to the year 2020. (Tobaccoinaustralia, 2019) A pack of regular cigarettes will cost up to $40, and duty-free cigarette allowance to be cut from 50 to 25.

It is certain that the increase in the cost of tobacco will reduce the consumption of tobacco and the number of smokers. Australian government reduces the purchasing power of smokers by imposing high taxes on tobacco products. Taxes need to rise periodically to adjust for inflation and consumer purchasing power. (WHO, 2019) So, the tobacco excise rate is indexed based on average weekly ordinary-time earnings (AWOTE). It will defend people from paying easier for tobacco due to the increase in wages. (NSW HEALTH, 2019)

Daily Smokers in Australia 18y+, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, 2018

The World Health Organization says that “raising tobacco prices through higher taxes is the most effective way to encourage tobacco users to quit and prevent children from starting smoking.” (WHO, 2019) The policy has made some success in Australia. Since the government raised the tax on tobacco by 25% in 2010, tobacco consumption has fallen by 11%. Since 2013, when the tax on tobacco was increased year by year, about 210,000 Australians have withdrawn from the tobacco market. (Acosh, 2019) Raising tobacco tax is a relatively mild measure, which is easy to be accepted by the public and smokers.

Australia has the highest tobacco prices in the world currently.

The Price of a Pack of Cigarettes around the World, Katharina, 2019

When I first came to Australia, I was very surprised for the price of cigarettes. Because a pack of cigarettes is very cheap in China. In China, the cheapest cigarettes cost only ¥5, nearly $1 Australian dollar. However, in Australia, the cheapest cigarettes cost nearly $20. The highest cigarette prices did help for Tobacco Control, but it still has some problems.

One of the problems is the decline of smoker rate has become slow. According to AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019), from 2013 to 2016, The percentage of daily smokers decreased very slightly, only from 12.8% to 12.2%. “This is a consistent trend for daily smokers aged 18 or older (AIHW 2017a). Between 2013 and 2016, there was a significant decrease in the daily amount of smoking among adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 19. (AIHW, 2017a) However, this policy did not work through smokers with many years of smoking experience. As the data showed in the chart, smoking rates among people aged 30 and over have barely improved or even recovered. Tobacco is highly addictive. It is very difficult for those who smoking for a long time to give up smoking due to the high price.

Source: NDSHS 2016 preliminary findings , AIHW, 2017a

According to Hirono and Smith (2018), another issue is Equity concerns surrounding high tobacco taxes. The highly increase of tobacco tax may have a particularly high impact on vulnerable communities with lower incomes. But for those who do not quit smoking, it will has some negative impact on their economies (having less income available to spend on basic needs) and social (the increased sense of stigma associated with smoking).

Australia’s tobacco tax shows a successful and acceptable policy. But we can also find that people still need some stronger policies to change their dependence on tobacco from this research. The government should not only change the smokers, but also the whole society’s cognition and view of tobacco. How to get rid of the dependence and control of tobacco will be a difficult problem for every government. If I will design a tobacco control intervention or campaign for Central Java, as while as raising the tobacco tax, I will also strengthen the negative publicity of tobacco on social media to warn people about the harm of tobacco. The most important part is that government will organize free physical examination for smokers, so that they can feel the bad influence and effects of smoking on the body intuitively.


Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia, Tobacco – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Australian tobacco control legislation – ACOSH Website 2019, ACOSH Website. viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Buchholz, K. 2019, Infographic: The Price of a Pack of Cigarettes around the World, Statista Infographics. viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Hirono KT, Smith KE. Australia’s $40 per pack cigarette tax plans: the need to consider equity, Tobacco Control 2018;27:229-233. viewed 18 November 2019, <>

National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016—key findings , Tobacco smoking – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Smoking and tobacco laws in Australia 2019, Australian Government Department of Health. viewed 18 November 2019, <>.

Smoking rates stall as Australia loses the battle against smoking 2018, ATHRA. viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

WHO | Raise taxes on tobacco 2019, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

13.2 Tobacco taxes in Australia – Tobacco in Australia 2019, viewed 19 November 2019, <>.

Post B: Smoking Cessation Applications

In 2013, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, a government organisation, created my QuitBuddy; a free personalised app designed to help users quit smoking (Department of Health | National Tobacco Campaign, 2019). The top-down approach is government funded and was created by a large interdisciplinary team composed of innovators, communication directors, strategists, managers, account managers and producers (My QuitBuddy, 2013). They saw an opportunity to create a support tool that would be with the user 24/7. The app targets rational, emotional and social functionality and has even created a gamification aspect (Campaign Brief, 2012).


Apps including and similar to my QuitBuddy are limited to simple communication; working on text-based programs. However, it offers many advantages which includes goal setting, daily reminders, progress tracking and self-monitoring. Particularly my QuitBuddy features reasons for quitting, recorded messages and photos from loved ones. It is a platform that shares success stories, distraction tips and celebrates milestones (quitnow, 2015). By presenting the risk factors of health and financial costs and benefits, the app succeeds to accommodate to most users as evidence shows younger smokers are concerned with monetary rewards of quitting whilst older populations care for the health factor (Paay, Kjeldskov, Skov, Lichon, & Rasmussen, 2015).



my Quit Buddy, Campaign Brief, 2012


Findings towards the effectiveness of this particular app is limited however US National Institute of Health undertook a systematic review of smartphone applications for smoking cessation. It is understood that applications such as my QuitBuddy has created a health intervention treatment that is more accessible than ever before (Haskins et al., 2017). Previously, face-to-face communication was the ideal way for treatment, but its scalability is not as wide reached as mobile access (Raw & McNeil, 1994). Through text-based support it alleviates problems such as fees, portability, connectivity, scheduling and time issues (Keoleian, Polcin and Galloway, 2015).


Weerakone’s thesis discovered hundreds of apps, in which 82 qualified for review; the few high performing apps were ones like my QuitBuddy who partnered with health or government agencies when critiqued against the Clinical Practice Guidelines (Weerakone, 2016). The most effective apps combined a calendar with a calculator in a colourful format making self-monitoring easy to digest; my QuitBuddy succeeded in this area by using infographics (Weerakone, 2016).


screen shot 2019-01-11 at 4.33.47 pm

Flow chart of the review process, Weerakone, 2016


In 2013, it was calculated that there were 200,000 downloads on iOS and Android devices which amounts to approximately 7% of all Australian smokers but more importantly; it was recorded 39% of smokers who have used my QuitBuddy managed to remain abstinent after six months (My QuitBuddy, 2013). Therefore, it is evident that this particular design intervention has been successful and fulfilled their project brief intention. It is also important to be aware of all the other applications that are available and are not made to the correct standard to achieve a positive outcome for users and communities.


Reference List

Department of Health | National Tobacco Campaign 2019, viewed 10 January 2019, <;.

Haskins, B. L., Lesperance, D., Gibbons, P., & Boudreaux, E. D., 2017, A systematic review of smartphone applications for smoking cessation. Translational behavioural medicine7(2), 292-299.

Keoleian, V., Polcin, D. and Galloway, G. 2015, Text Messaging for Addiction: A Review, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, vol 47, no 2, pp.158-176.

My QuitBuddy aims to help people quit smoking 2012, Campaign Brief Australia. viewed 11 January 2019, <;.

My QuitBuddy 2013, DRIVENxDESIGN. viewed 11 January 2019, <;.

Paay, J., Kjeldskov, J., Skov., M.B., Lichon, L., & Rasmussen, S. 2015, Understanding individual differences for tailored smoking cessation apps. Retrieved from

quitnow – My QuitBuddy 2015, viewed 11 January 2019, <;.

Raw, M. and McNeillL, A. 1994, The prevention of tobacco-related disease, Addiction, vol 89, no 11, pp.1505-1509.

Weerakone, S. 2016, Examining the effects of an online intervention promoting isometric exercise in smokers, University of London, vol. 1, p47-56.