Do you remember the first anti-smoking campaign you saw? Chances are if you live in Western Australia it was a Make Smoking History campaign.

 

Australia, and particularly WA, has a history of strong advocacy for tobacco control to create a healthier environment for the whole community and in supporting people who smoke to stop. Anti-smoking mass media campaigns like the ones you see on TV or billboards play a big role in this.

 

Anti-smoking ads aren’t new to Australia. Early national campaigns against smoking included posters and slogans carrying anti-smoking messages placed where you would usually see cigarette advertising, and the ‘Smoking – who needs it?’ campaign aimed at girls and young women. In 1997 the National Tobacco Campaign was established and the first nation-wide TV ad called ‘Every cigarette is doing you damage’ was run.

Make Smoking History launch

Make Smoking History was launched in 2000 with the first WA campaign, ‘Nice people’, running in 2000 and 2001.

'Nice People' TV Campaign

  

Since then, Make Smoking History has run 55 campaign waves in WA, with many of the ads made right here in WA. You might recognise some of the other Make Smoking History campaigns that have run across the years:

'Zita's Story' (2006)

 

Sugar Sugar (2009, 2010)
'16 Cancers' (2015, 2019)

 

The Make Smoking History campaign was originally called Target15 and aimed to reduce smoking prevalence among WA adults to 15% or less by 2010. This was achieved with 15.1% of WA adults still smoking in 2010. The number of WA adults who smoke has continued to decline and in 2019 10.3% of WA adults were current smokers.

 

A big part of this decline is the use of anti-smoking campaigns that aim to encourage and motivate people to stop smoking. You may wonder why a lot of anti-smoking ads are graphic, scary, or emotional. Research consistently shows us that campaigns that show the negative health effects of smoking and that are ‘hard-hitting’ (that is; they are graphic, scary, or emotional) prompt people to take quitting actions like talking to a doctor, cutting down on the number of cigarettes they smoke, attempting to quit, or quitting for good.

 

Public Health campaigns take a lot of work to produce (see this LiveLighter blog for an explanation of how public health campaigns are created) and so we often make ads that we can run multiple times.

 

For our next wave of advertising we will be running the ‘Sponge’ campaign – this is another one that you may recognise from a few years back. The ‘Sponge’ campaign was created by the NSW Department of Health in 1979, back then they used a cardboard cut-out to display the person behind the lungs! This campaign was so successful when it first aired that the tobacco lobby tried to have it banned. Thankfully it was allowed to go to air because it resulted in a 3.4% reduction in the number of smokers after the ad aired in Sydney. Listen to this interview with the ad creator John Bevins for a detailed account of how the ‘Sponge’ campaign was created.

Image from the 'Sponge' Campaign

The campaign looks and sounds a little different now, but the message is still the same. We want to remind people of the serious health effects that smoking has on the lungs and remind West Australians who smoke that we are still here to provide support to quit – we haven’t given up on you.

This message is especially important now with the global pandemic we are experiencing and the impact that COVID-19 has on the lungs, particularly how it can affect people who smoke. We know that stopping smoking can be hard, but we are here to support you and we have a lot of tips, tricks and information to get you through quitting. Whether you are taking the first step, have had a stumble, or are looking to ward off cravings to stay quit we have information for you.

 

For more information on the 'Sponge' Campaign and tips to quit check this page out.

No items found.

Other stories you may like

From targeting 15 to making smoking history - Our campaign history

Do you remember the first anti-smoking campaign you saw? Chances are if you live in WA if was a Make Smoking History campaign.

Call on WA Government to commit to making tobacco control a priority

New data reveals that the tough approach to tobacco has saved around four lives a week from death due to lung cancer since 1982

Why everyone deserves an environment free from tobacco smoke

Creating environments that are free from tobacco smoke is an important step in protecting the health of adults, children, infants, unborn babies and pets.

Smoking and your family

Secondhand and thirdhand smoke increase the risk of ill health in babies and children who are exposed to them, as well as to unborn babies when the mother is exposed to secondhand smoke.

Free Quit Support

Talk to the Quitline

Quitline is a confidential advice and information service for people who want to quit smoking. For the cost of a local call (except mobile phones), a trained advisor can help you to plan and develop strategies to quit smoking and stay stopped. You can also use webchat during opening hours.

My QuitBuddy App

The My QuitBuddy App tracks your quitting progress, such as days smoke-free, cigarettes avoided, health gained and dollars saved.

Google Play ButtonApp Store ButtonMicrosoft Store Button
Call Quitline 13 7848
Call Now

or

Request a Callback
Request Callback
Quit for You - Quit for Two App

The Quit for You - Quit for Two App provides support and encouragement to help you give up smoking if you are currently or are planning to become pregnant.