Preventing the uptake of smoking 

among young Aboriginal people

In 2014, we worked with Nunkuwarrin Yunti, a community-controlled Aboriginal health organisation to design and implement the ‘Don’t Let Your Dreams Go Up in Smokes’ campaign in the Adelaide region. This targeted social marketing campaign engaged young people and their influencers in place-based and online activities to raise awareness of the impacts of smoking and empower young people to reject smoking.

The campaign was informed by a desktop research analysis into the likely motivators for young Aboriginal people to take up smoking, barriers to them being able to say no to smokes, and the reasons young people reject smoking. We created a social marketing campaign centred around messages and tactics informed by this desktop review and targeted three segments of the target audience.

Campaign activities were tested with the audience through a relationship with a local Aboriginal high school. The creative developed, in partnership with Indigenous business, Winangali, responded to research that showed using positive and empowering messages would more effectively influence young people who had not started smoking, or become a “regular” smoker. Tactics used included: social media – Facebook, blog, Instagram, and Snapchat, featuring images and messages from local young people; online (and event-based) competitions and message boards; champions and events to promote, energise and disseminate messaging for the campaign; and training and a campaign toolkit for Nunkuwarrin Yunti and partners to support ongoing implementation.

An evaluation less than one year after the campaign launched showed the campaign had reached over 2000 students within 20 schools. More than 300 students directly engaged – including creating their own messages and creative. There was an increase in target audience awareness of smoking risks and commitments to staying smoke-free, along with increased partnership development and good awareness of the campaign brand in the target community. More information about the research insights and campaign results is available on our blog.

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