May 31st is World No Tobacco Day and people from Cape York are saying “Don’t Make Smokes Your Story.”
Apunipima Cape York Health Council Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) staff have been engaging with Cape York communities to develop an anti-smoking campaign. The locally appropriate ‘Don’t Make Smokes Your Story’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the harms of smoking and passive smoking, the benefits of a smoke-free environment, and available quit support.
The Cape York ‘Don’t Make Smokes Your Story’ Campaign enables community members to share on film their stories about quitting, trying to quit and the impact of smoking on families and communities. It is hoped that by sharing their stories, others will be encouraged to share their stories too.
Selena Possum, who has lived in Pormpuraaw for the last 20 years, is now a non-smoker. She says smoking affected her a lot, “Wasting a lot of money to buy cigarettes and it was making me sick, coughing a lot, and getting up late, and it smells on your clothes a lot. So I said to myself I would have to cut down smoking.”
“You don’t have to buy cigarettes, you don’t have to afford cigarettes for other people, you don’t have to get cigarettes. Just be strong and stand up for yourself and say no!”
Coen local Amos James Hobson has never smoked in his life. He sees many young people start smoking “Just to be cool, to pick up a chick.” He says to all the young people out there, “Our people didn’t smoke, don’t smoke, it’s not good. It’s not our culture and it’s not our way.”
Thala Wallace from Napranum has tried to quit three times and says “Every time it gets easier.” Her strategy is to “Try to find ways to occupy myself, snack-out on fruit or go to the gym, getting out and hanging out more with people who don’t smoke.”
The stories, as well as posters, social media posts and radio advertisements will be released from May 31st as Apunipima launches the Cape York ‘Don’t Make Smokes Your Story’ campaign.
Apunipima received a Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) Regional Tobacco Control Grant as part of the National Tackling Indigenous Smoking program. To effectively reduce smoking rates in Cape York, Apunipima TIS staff have been engaging with communities to develop and implement a locally appropriate social marketing campaign to influence smoking behaviours and community readiness to address smoke-free environments. The Cape York campaign will align with a national ‘Don’t Make Smokes Your Story’ campaign.