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National Smoking Campaign in Australia

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Introduction

Smoking is one of the major causes of chronic diseases and premature deaths globally. In Australia, it is estimated that in 1998, an average of 19000 deaths were attributed to smoking. In course of time the figures seemed to have dropped, yet there are still numerous cases that need to be addressed to prevent unnecessary loss of life. Australia’s Federal Government has put great efforts with the aim of curbing this menace (Hetzel & Glover, 2010). This included several campaigns and initiated programs across various states. However, the implementation of these campaigns has not been an easy task. This is mostly attributed to the barriers to change which is common among tobacco abusers. This essay will discuss the barriers that include psychological, social and cultural barriers and competing alternatives. The essay will also focus on how the campaigns try to eliminate the above barriers to change.

Barriers to Change

Psychological Barriers

Research has shown that psychological factors are the major barriers to change. Many people engage in unhealthy habits such as smoking such due to their way of life and their behavioral structure. One of the physiological barriers is a lack of knowledge. Most abusers of tobacco do not have proper and adequate information about the real dangers of smoking (Thomas, 2012). Although there is information everywhere, few people are equipped with the correct knowledge hence creating an environment where people do not understand the gravity of their actions.

Another common psychological barrier is denial. This is common among the tobacco smokers. A huge percentage of smokers do not admit that they are abusers therefore refusing any form of help. They do not accept the fact that they are in danger and usually they are caught up with disease. Surprisingly, most of these diseases could have been prevented and even treated.

In addition, low self-esteem also is a common barrier to behavior change. Individuals with a low self-esteem often result to habits such as smoking as a consoling mechanism. Unfortunately, they put their lives at risk. Approaching such individuals with an aim of making them change is a hard task. This is because the will to change must come from within an individual. People with low esteem often feel that they are not capable of quitting the habit (Chapman & Wakefield, 2001). Therefore, this makes it hard for smokers with low self-esteem to initiate or participate in preventive heath programs.

Moreover, debilitating emotions are also a key barrier to behavior change. Studies have shown that emotions may change or cloud a person’s judgment. Fear is a common emotion that may off set a person normal judgment. For example, smokers may fear the treatment process hence avoid the treatment.

Cultural and Social Barriers

These are the major cause of smoking as it is not easy to be non-smoker as it is important for sharing in the Aboriginal culture, making it difficult to say no in this context. Smoking in the Aboriginal populations is known to have been directly influenced by a complex set of cultural and environmental factors. For instance, the high prevalence of tobacco in areas such as AHWs could be attributed to the addiction, stress due to unemployment and poverty and due to social pressures.  Social exclusion when quitting occurs when the family members and colleagues get offended by quitting smoking. Some of the behavioral oriented policies, which could be adopted, include education of the health risks associated with unhealthy behaviors and the negative outcomes associated with them.  This helps these people in realizing the benefits of taking up alternative behaviors. Behavioral change can also be achieved through support of the individual’s belief that they have the power to practice target behavior.

Conclusion

There are multilevel factors, which have made it difficult to control smoking. Personal obstacles such as stress and grief, lack of knowledge on the quitting methods have made it even more difficult. Social, psychological and cultural factors have had influential effects in the creation of pro-smoking environments. Hence, it is important to develop smoking control programs that can be targeted for the implementation of a smoke free community. Multidimensional smoke cessation program are required for the support of AHWs to quit their smoking habits.

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