Use of Social Marketing Campaigns to Curb Tobacco Use amongst the Youth in Australia
Tobacco use amongst the youth is a social problem that has had far reaching implications on the holistic wellbeing of the Australian society. The use of social marketing as a way of curbing tobacco smoking has gained increased prominence in Australia. In particular, relative strategies have been instrumental in increasing public awareness of the health risks that are caused by smoking. Current trends indicate that relative efforts have had significant impacts including changes of public attitudes towards smoking, increased attempts to quit smoking, decreased prevalence of smoking and so forth. The effort was initiated by the National Tobacco Campaign of Australia and seemingly, it has yielded positive results.
According to Louis (2008), social marketing is a tool that has had a significant effect on the society. The first trial regarding to use of this in educating the youth about the dangers of tobacco smoking was initiated in South Wales. This was based on the premise that the youth constitute a segment of the population that is most conversant with social networking. Besides social networking, mass media programs such as advertising have been instrumental in relaying this important message to the youth. Over time, the complexity and sophistication of the mass campaigns through social media has increased significantly. To monitor the efforts, research has been undertaken through time in order to evaluate the success of the relative efforts.
As aforementioned, the campaigns contain vital information regarding the dangers of tobacco smoking (National Health Priority Action Council, 2006; Turrell, Battistutta & McGuffog, 2002). The respective messages designed in such a manner that they are attractive to the youth facet of the population. Essentially, the informative messages are aimed at making the youth to refrain from tobacco smoking. In this regard, they are basically preventive measures that are undertaken to counter the scenario (White, Hayman & Hill, 2008). Further, the respective efforts go a long way in educating the entire public about the dangers of smoking. In this consideration, they are informative efforts that are useful enhancing literacy levels with regards to dangers of smoking (Lu, Tong & Oldenburg, 2001).
Further, the campaigns are useful for encouraging the smokers to quit the practice (Townsend, Roderick & Cooper, 1974). This objective is mainly attained through the graphical design of the advertisements as well as other forms of campaigns. In particular, they are designed in such a way that they portray to the audience the actual negative implications of smoking (Adhikari & Summerill, 1999). This informs the audience about the actual implications of the disease and goes a long way in promoting relative changes in attitudes.
Social marketing is reflective of the basic principles of health promotion in different ways. To begin with, the respective messages are not solely directed at the smoking youth (Graham, 2004). In this regard, it is worth acknowledging that a significant percentage of the population uses the social networking media and is therefore likely to access the messages accordingly. In addition, relative campaigns are also directed at the youth who do not smoke. In this respect, they are aimed at informing them about the dangers of smoking in a bid to prevent them from assuming the practice (Fong, Cummings & Shopland, 2006). The smoking youth on the other hand are encouraged to quit the practice. The rest of the population is informed about the dangers of secondary smoke and measures that can be undertaken to prevent them. The elderly on the other hand are also encouraged to quit smoking through other forms of media such as advertising. Ultimately, relative efforts reach a significant percentage of the population and go a long way in protecting and enhancing is health.
According to Graham and Kelly (2004), the concept of social marketing is complex and its successful implementation requires efforts form different stakeholders. In particular, this effort incorporates wide ranging concepts form the fields of sociology, psychology, communications and commercial marketing. Notably, the process of developing relative advertisement in itself passes on the message to different facets of the society. Also worth mentioning is the fact that relative marketing efforts are geared towards addressing different social determinants of public health. The inherent cooperation according to Hill, White and Gray (1991) is instrumental in enhancing capacities and ensuring that the ultimate outcome yields optimal results. Furthermore, this ensures that the end result is sustainable and goes a long way in enhancing its overall impact on the public. In this regard, it is worth noting that the participation of different efforts in the relative initiatives enhances a feeling of ownership that makes them to be more appreciative of the information contained therein.
Notably, the efforts also involve the political facet of the population. In their research, Kawachi, Subramanian and Almeida-Filho (2002) indicate that the government is usually responsible for regulating the practice and ensuring that it meets the established standards. In addition, it contributes to the process by providing vital resources and encouraging participation of various members of the society. Involvement of the government is imperative because of the power and influence that it has with regards to formulating, enforcing and implementing important policies. To a great extent, Whitlock, Macmahon and VanderHoom (1997) indicate that the success of this project can be attributable to the effort made by the national government.
Also, the social marketing campaigns address the social determinants of health inequalities in different ways. The Tobacco Control Research Center (2005) indicates that the relative efforts have been successful in addressing the issue of unemployment. In this respect, it can not be disputed that the youth play an active role in providing Australia with labor. In essence, The Social Research Center (2005) agrees that the youth constitute a significant 60% of the work force in Australia. The fact that they are the most affected by smoking implies that this has adverse impacts on the economic wellbeing of the society. By being encouraged to quit smoking, these campaigns are therefore vital in enhancing the quantity as well as quality of the Australian labor.
The actual initiatives provide the youth with viable employment opportunities in different fields of specifications (World Bank, 2008). Specifically, the youths working in the fields of psychology, sociology, and marketing and communications benefit significantly from the relative initiatives. Also, the efforts have been commended for taking measures to curb poverty that increases health inequalities amongst the populations. Adhikari (2006) cites that poverty is perpetuated by differences in income levels. Those with a small income are unlikely to access quality medical services and vice versa. In addition, the former are unlikely to have good housing, employment and so forth. The state of poverty also enhances their vulnerability to smoking and drug use and abuse. In this consideration, the campaigns go along way in addressing poverty by providing the youth with employment opportunities.
Perhaps the most sustainable effort pertains to the capacity building and awareness creation that the campaigns make regarding the diverse dangers of smoking. According to White, Hill, Siahpush and Bobevski (2003), education in the medical field is important in changing the attitudes of various individuals. The relative information enables the individuals to perceive issues and concerns form a more informed point of view. This enables them to make objective decisions regarding their way of life. Compared to other approaches and interventions, awareness creation yields more beneficial and lasting results (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research, 2005). Therefore, it is the most sustainable approach to addressing the wide ranging social health determinants that the society continues to grapple with.
Although the efforts have been imperative in reducing smoking behaviors amongst the youth, Laws, Grayson and Sullivan (2006) indicates that the efforts can be improved further. To attain more results, Boyd 92007) indicates that it would be important for relevant stakeholders to review and improve the executional styles. These are wide and varied and include sound, editing style, lighting, setting and different other general production values. In general, this improves the quality of the advertisements and campaigns and increases the impact that relative campaigns have on the entire population (Gray & Hill, 1997; Berkman & Kawachi, 2000). This is because the preceding improvements enhance the appeal of the information contained in the messages.
Further, Berbeau, Krieger and Soobuder (2004) suggest that the tobacco industry needs to be more involved in funding the initiatives and campaigns. Social studies indicate that the smoking youth tend to have a close attachment to the company that manufactures the cigarettes. Behavioral theories also ascertain that smokers usually perceive the relative companies positively (Gartnet, 2008; Hill, White & Scollo, 1998). Active involvement of the tobacco industry in the campaigns can therefore be important in enhancing the change of attitudes by the affected population. A study undertaken by Germain, Wakefield, Durkin and Siapush (2007) asserted that apart from parents and the media, the tobacco industry should also be actively involved in these initiatives.
In addition to the social marketing, Flick, Cook, Homan, Mcsweeney and Campell (2006) indicate that other forms of media such as television advertisements, newspapers and magazine advertisements should be employed in furthering this good. This will increase the impact of the campaigns as more populations would be informed about the relative efforts. Also, Giovino, Henningfield, Tomar, Escobedo and Slade (1995) posit that word of mouth can also yield beneficial effects especially to the aboriginal youth.
Finally, relevant stakeholders can also consider reviewing the content of the messages. Hill, white and Gray (1991) indicate that the content of the message usually has the greatest impact on the audience. It determines the response of the audience and can be useful in enhancing a positive response. Mohsin and Bauman (2005) argue that in addition to presentation, the content of the information determines the response that the audience takes. In this regard, the content needs to be directed at multiple segments of the population. Furthermore, it should be specific and relevant in order to have the greatest impact.
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