NACCHO Smoke Free news: Stickin’ It Up The Smokes – has there been a catchier campaign name?

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The recent NACCHO Summit had a number of presentations about different tobacco control projects that are underway across the country.

While their goals differ, they all are harnessing new technologies and online communications channels, reports journalist John Thompson-Mills.


Tobacco control projects in the spotlight 

John Thompson-Mills writes:

Tablets are being used to survey Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the staff and clients of community controlled services about smoking-related issues.

The Talking About the Smokes project aims to better understand the pathways to smoking and quitting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to evaluate what works in helping them to quit smoking. (Many organisations are involved in the project, as outlined here).

So far, more than 2400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have completed the first wave of the survey, which has seen health workers and even community Elders involved in collecting the data, using tablet technology.

Vouchers to supermarket and other major shopping chains are also used as inducements to encourage participation. A second wave of the survey is about to begin.

Jamahl, a Townsville health-worker, has been smoking since he was sixteen. He’s been convinced quitting is a good idea since recently losing a dearly loved Aunty to cancer.

Jamahl has taken the survey, and was surprised about what he learnt.

He says it’s made him think differently about his community and is convinced other respondents will feel the same way.


Making it Work

In NSW, more than 1000 “Tobacco Resistance Toolkits” have been downloaded since the Australian Health & Medical Research Council launched “Making It Work” in October last year.

Aimed at new Aboriginal service providers who lack training or culturally appropriate resources, the Tobacco Resistance and Control team (ATRAC) toolkit is a series of three modules.

These offer a practical template for data collection, creating a smoke-free workplace policy and how to source current facts and figures, called “Let’s Get Started.” A fourth module, Social Marketing, is about to be launched.

The three-year program has placed no limit as to how many modules will be available to its service providers. The more the community needs, the more consultation-based modules will be developed.

Once again, the community will shape and drive the program.

Jasmine Sarin who presented the seminar at the NACCHO Summit said defining success won’t be about the Toolkit’s effect on smoking prevalence.

“It’s more about measuring how people move through stages of change,” she says. “So, not smoking in the home anymore, or no longer smoking around children, any improvements in those areas would represent a success for us.”


Stickin’ It Up The Smokes

In South Australia, a unique program IS looking to reduce smoking prevalence – among young pregnant Aboriginal women.

In SA, the smoking rate for pregnant women is three times higher for Indigenous women than non-Indigenous women, totalling nearly 53%.

South Australia also has the highest number of low birth-weight babies.

The answer is Stickin’ It Up The Smokes, put together by the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA).

Using social media, a series of flyers, posters and regional radio ads, a multi-faceted campaign has been pulled together in very quick fashion and for very little cost.

Mary Anne Williams, the Maternal Health Tackling Smoking Program Officer at AHCSA, says her initial campaign costs were heading towards $20,000.

But by bringing in a number of Aboriginal media students and finding a young social marketing expert, the final outlay was a fraction of that, at $2,000.

Speaking at the NACCHO Summit, Williams said the campaign only took four months to go from concept to delivery; a massive eight months quicker than a Government-led process would have taken.

She even managed to get some help from X-Factor finalist Ellie Lovegrove who wrote a rap for the campaign.

There were some challenges though. Convincing some community Elders about the merits of the strategy took time. And it was a struggle to find the nine non-smoking ambassadors until a Facebook campaign was launched. Then the quota was filled within two days.

The target audience is primarily pregnant SA Aboriginal women aged in their early 20s.

The secondary targets include: Aboriginal mothers with young babies, especially those who are breastfeeding; families, and particularly partners, of pregnant Aboriginal women; young Aboriginal women who have not yet taken up smoking or had children (especially those aged 10-14 years); and Aboriginal communities throughout South Australia.

The aim of the Stickin It Up The Smokes campaign is modest:  a 2.1% per year reduction in smoking during pregnancy for Aboriginal women by June 2016.

The Summit also heard yesterday about anti-smoking efforts by the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council, in WA. Some tweet reports follow.

Aboriginal Social Media #NACCHOSummit news: A case study of Twitter-power for Aboriginal health advocacy and self-determination


Social media and particularly Twitter had a huge impact in amplifying the discussions and reach of the NACCHO Summit in Adelaide this week.

As at 25 August there were 5,563,625 Impressions from 3,097 Tweets

As you can see from the tweet below, NACCHO is heading to next Tuesday’s National Press Club debate on health with an arsenal of tweeters. (Heaven help hope those politicians if they don’t focus on their plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health – their names will be mud in the Twitterverse.)

In the article below journalist John Thompson-Mills reports on the social media impact factor – perhaps it was no coincidence that #NACCHOSummit was trending on Twitter and that a senior government official turned up for the last day of the Summit.

At the bottom of his article are some further conference tweets, showing that “pride” emerged very strongly as a Summit theme, as well as a grab of the conference’s Twitter analytics (which doesn’t include today’s tweet-coverage).

If you would like assistance with Social media such as TWITTER  contact the person who put this project together

NACCHO Media and Communications advisor :Colin Cowell who you can follow @NACCHOAustralia



Twitter extends the reach of #NACCHOSummit

John Thompson-Mills writes:

One of the foundation stones of NACCHO and Aboriginal self-determination is community control. The community provides the expertise, drives the program and controls the message.

This makes social media a perfect fit for an event like the inaugural NACCHO summit.

Experienced social media users may have been fully prepared to use Twitter to talk about the #NACCHOSummit but many, including senior NACCHO people, were taken aback by what social media managed to achieve this week.

NACCHO’s CEO, Lisa Briggs, says:

“I think the social media coverage has been absolutely fantastic and taken the conference to places it probably wouldn’t have been able to reach, just with newspapers and radio. So I think it’s a very important and effective tool.

“The viralness (sic) of Twitter certainly surprised me, absolutely, and I think it’s the attraction and the interest. Finding peoples’ interests and them tweeting back; ‘that’s really good, can I hear more about those stories?’, and then getting in touch with others who are presenting them. I think I know more people on social media than I do face to face.” 

The summit convinced a number of NACCHO staff to join the Twitterverse and, with thousands of tweets generated by the end of the conference, there was plenty to inspire the “Twitter-virgins”.

NACCHO Summit attendee Jake Byrne isn’t a Twitter virgin. He tends to observe the space rather than join in the debate. Not now though. He says:

“I’m probably going to have to get an account that’s a bit more focused and work specific. I have to try and get a bit more active in the space, promoting different programs and ideas and things that I’ve been seeing.

“I reckon the more we spread the word, the better it is for everyone in promoting those really good stories that all too often in Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal health are the ones that don’t get the spotlight shone on them.”

Lisa Briggs expected social media at the NACCHO Summit to stay within the realms it already occupied, but in the middle of an election campaign there was too much going on for it to stay contained.

A couple of times this week, the conference’s Twitter hashtag (#NACCHOSummit) was “trending” nationally (ie: the top subjects on the Twitter platform), which, along with the sheer numbers of tweets, helped convince a government bureaucrat to make a hasty trip to Adelaide from Canberra to see what was going on.

Samantha Palmer is the First Assistant Secretary, in the Office for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health and she sat in on the final day of the conference.

With the election campaign in full swing, and the Federal Government in caretaker mode, Palmer wasn’t able to speak publicly, but did spend private time with NACCHO members.

Jake Byrne could also see the value in Twitter influencing political circles.

“I was impressed to see all the Tweets coming from the summit did put some pressure on the pollies and brought it to national attention, and we were “trending”. I actually got to understand what trending was and the power it has, which I wasn’t really aware of before coming here,” he said.

NACCHO CEO Lisa Briggs didn’t mind that Samantha Palmer couldn’t talk publicly at the summit. For her the coincidental timing of the election campaign and the conference was perfect.

“I think it’s been a fantastic opportunity to get the good stories and inform wider Australia what’s going on,” she said. “Through social media we’ve kept it on a political platform, asking questions about how they’re contributing to Aboriginal Community Control and health in particular.

“Today you would’ve seen more tweets directed at Tanya Plibersek (Federal Health Minister) and Peter Dutton (Shadow Health Minister). They may not be here physically but there are other ways of getting to them,” she said.

At the other end of the political scale, NACCHO conference attendee, Marlee Ramp, a 19 year-old medical student from Cairns, has now seen the potential of Twitter up close.

“…this week with all the hash tags, I started an account and followed the feed,” she said. “Obviously this week is all health focused, but it gives me a broader perspective of health and what my role may be in the future, and who I can get involved with.”

Young, active, aware people like Marlee Ramp represent the future for Aboriginal self-determination but so it seems does social media because it empowers the storytellers.

Jake Byrne is 30 and he can see the relative power social media gives him and other Aboriginal people. He says:

“If we can control our message, that’s brilliant. We’ve heard a lot in the past few days about myths that were being smashed through the evidence that’s been collected so far, but I think those myths are propagated by other people sending messages about our community. If we can get our stories out there the way we want them to be told, that’s really empowering.”

The next NACCHO Summit is scheduled for April or May next year. That means organisers and delegates will be filling social media just as budgets are being finalised by what’s anticipated to be a new Coalition Government.

Coincidence or clever timing?

No doubt we’ll get a clear idea by what’s said on social media.


Twitter stream shows up a strong theme of Pride


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