Australian National Preventive Health Agency: How suffering made people quit

Pieter-Paul von Weiler and Brigitte Bayard
AJF Partnership


Public enemy number 1

Smoking is Australia's single most preventable cause of death and illness, claiming 15,000 lives annuallyi. It is responsible for more deaths and hospitalisations than alcohol and drug use combinedii. The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) briefed us on helping reduce the rate of adult daily smokers in Australia. We were mandated to reinforce the damaging health effects of smoking.

Finding a new way in

Despite 96% of smokers being aware that smoking causes lung cancer, roughly one in six Australian adults still smoked.iii Gruesome packaging, increased pricing, tough anti-smoking laws and years of anti-smoking campaigns had not compelled them to quit. We needed to uncover a new strategy, but this was not going to be easy.