One of South Eastern Sydney Local Health Districts most successful media campaigns was an attempt to provide young people with alternatives to the culturally-embedded practice of shisha smoking. Driven by two key factors, namely the hidden driver of tobacco addiction in the rationalisation of smoking shisha, along with the startling reality of a recent World Health Organisation study which found that an hour’s shisha smoking (often, but not always shared) is the equivalent of smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes. Hard to believe but true!
The campaign consisted of sophisticated video stories of family and peer pressure to participate in the behaviour as well as a highly interactive learning tool designed to assist community workers to ‘know the facts’ around shisha smoking so that they could provide strong counter-arguments when discussing the subject with members of their community. Common arguments for smoking shisha, such as ‘it’s part of our culture’ or ‘it’s a healthy herbal option’ can be shown to be motivated by addiction at the core.
Inky Smudge created a series of visual stories from narratives written by the SESLHD team and used these as the basis for self-driven pathways through the ethical dimensions of issues raised by each narrative. Participants were able to choose their path through these issues and move forward or backward to view other pathways. The aim was to equip community workers with considered views they could express when up against common obfuscating arguments raised by proponents of shisha smoking.