Developing a Health Advocacy Campaign Essay

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Health Advocacy Campaign

The basic purpose of the consumer education programs is to promote awareness about the effects that tobacco has on our health. These programmes have basically been made in a way to induce fear in the people in order to emphasize the largest cause of preventable death all around the world and to make the young people stop smoking (Fletcher, 2007).

It has been noticed through the researches that were conducted in United States and Australia that smoking rates in case of the general public have decreased but when it comes to students the trend has increased (see for example, AIHW, 2002; Tevyaw 2006). It was noted by Tevyaw (2006) that the rate of smoking in the people of 18-24 of age especially in case of the student in the U.S. has not only remained stabled but even increased in the last decade.

Percentage of smokers

It was reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in 2002 that from among the Australians belonging to the ages 14-19-15.1% smoke cigarettes. From among these 15.1% of smokers there were 31.6% of women who said that they smoke cigarettes on daily basis (AIHW, 2002) -- which is almost the double of the national average which is 16.1%. The amount of smoking done by the women belonging to this age group decreases in their 20s (to almost 17.6% which is the lowest in Australia), however, in case of men the case is opposite as the smoking increases to 30.1% which is higher than the national average for the men belonging to 20-29 years of age.

It was reported by AIHW (2002) that the percentage of smokers in Australia of 14 years of age and more has declined from approximately 30% in 1985 to 17.4% in 2004. In 2004 it was reported that the percentage of males who smoke daily is 18.6% while in case of women the percentage is 16.3%. In 2006 it was reported by ABS that the data collected by AIHW showed that 14,2% of the females between 14-19 years of age were current smokers while the percentage for the men belonging to the same age group was 12.7%.

In 1994 some major conclusions were made by U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (as cited in Cornelissen, 2005) regarding the use of tobacco. Some of these conclusions were that almost all the people use tobacco before their high school graduation. It was also noted that most of the adolescent smokers are addicted to nicotine and that in most of the cases they want to quit but they couldn't. The research showed that students more likely to be smoking were the ones that had low level of achievements in the school and those who lacked skills and had low self-image because of which they couldn't resist the persuasion of friends to smoke (p. 3).

Effectiveness of the campaigns to reduce smoking:

There are very detailed researches that have been done to judge the effectiveness of communication campaigns in order to reduce the use of tobacco in the young people. It was suggested by Gilbert (2005) that the campaigns that are designed to focus on women and help them realize how dangerous smoking is should focus on strategies that would help the women in realizing the risks that they are putting their health in by smoking cigarettes. It was also suggested by Gilbert (2005) that women who have been regular smokers should not be ignored. In fact, they should be taken help from and encouraged to share their experiences with the other women to make them realize how injurious cigarette smoking is to health, however, this should be done in a way that it doesn't become embarrassing or humiliating for the women and girls (p. 243).

Various other approaches to reach the people with anti-smoking messages have been provided by many studies such as; Rodger et al. (2005) suggested the idea of sending SMS text messages to people.

Use of provocative emotional appeals to discourage smoking

In Norway a third consecutive mass media campaign was launched in which there was a use of provocative emotional appeals to discourage the adolescents from starting to smoke, the effects of this campaign were studied by Hafstad and Aaro (1997). The total number of respondents was 4,994 and it was observed by Hafstad and Aaro (1997) that the most positive reactions being showed towards the anti-smoking messages and campaigns were by the boys, however, the people who took the campaigns in a negative way were the smokers.
It was found by Butterfield (2003) that the smokers when compared to the non-smokers feel less in control of their lives and this plays a huge role in their being unable to give up smoking.

It was observed by Miller et al. (2007) that the reactions of individuals to the anti-smoking advertisements are different from culture to the other.

Smoking was described as a 'thoroughly embedded and integrated behaviour' in a person's life span by 2003 by Booth-Butterfield (p. 171). It was noticed that there are a number of factors that result in the person becoming a smoker such as the psychological factors, the complexities faced in life or the behaviour, biological and socio-cultural factors etc.

Fear-based anti-smoking appeals

It was observed by Hansen, Winzeler and Topolinski (2010) that the anit-smoking messages written on the packs of cigarettes that target the self-esteem as well as the mortality can prove to be helpful in encouraging anti-smoking attitudes in people.

It was observed by Devlin et al. (2007) that the fear-based anti-smoking messages and campaigns invoked a defensive response in the people in England and in some cases the people even took these messages in a negative way. It was also noticed that in case of the committed smokers these messages stopped having any effects at all. Therefore, it was suggested to use this kind of appeals in combination with appropriate forms of support and advice (Devlin, et al., 2007).

Specific objectives for the policy you want to be implemented:

The anti-smoking campaigns should be organized and managed in a way that the experiences of the people who have been smoking for a long time should be shared with the target audience in order to make the campaigns more effective by giving the information being provided in them more credibility.

More efforts should be focused on the campaigns to discourage the adolescents from beginning to smoke as this will greatly decrease the amount of smokers. Also efforts should be made to build positive images of the people who don't smoke as compared to the macho, cowboy images of the smokers.

The means to inform various stakeholders

The strategic communication was defined by Hallahan et al. (2007) as "the focused use of communication by a firm or an organization to complete their goals and missions." It has to be noted here that there is a difference between the strategic communication and the integrated communication as the strategic communication focuses on the strategies to facilitate the communication across all the various levels within an organization. (p. 7).

We can understand the relationship of the strategic campaigns whose purpose is to generate the behavioural outcomes by looking at the discussion done by Grunig's (2009) on the two paradigms regarding the public relations practice. It has been argued by Grunig (2009) that the general believe of the practitioners working in the symbolic, interpretive paradigm of marketing communication is that the messages that change the cognitive behaviour of the public can be used to persuade them. It was argued by Grunig (2009) that the tactical role of communication is paid excessive attention to in the negotiation of the meaning by putting more emphasis on the media relations, messages, media effects and publicity (Grunig, 2009).

It can be deduced from the brief literature on the anti-smoking campaigns focused on the young people that the professional communicators need to pay more attention to how they design the campaigns as the information and messages regarding health are interpreted in very different way by the young people.

A certain amount of direction has been provided to the organizations that are promoting the positive behavioural outcomes by the literature available on the growing field of strategic communication.

Section 2: legal implications

In order to deal with the smoking problems in the country a new law needs to be formulated. As, the creation and implementation of laws is strongly influenced by the public opinion, the creation of an informed public opinion that has a positive effect on the quality as well as the availability of the mental health services is a very important step in the formulation of an advocacy strategy.

The impact of existing laws on your advocacy efforts

There needs to be an increase in the expenditure of mental health care or the current laws and the ones made in the future won't have much impact in the health.....

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