“Smoking rates among the general population have declined dramatically in the past decades”. (Cancer Council NSW) This can be largely attributed to effective health promotion. Explain how health promotion initiatives based on the Ottawa Charter have contributed to positive health outcomes in the area of tobacco use. (450 – 600 words) The Ottawa Charter is a global health promotion run by the World Health Organisation. It involves five action areas: developing personal skills, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, reorienting health services and building healthy public policies. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2011-12, there were 2.8 million Australians aged 18 years and over who smoked daily (16.1%). Just over half (51.1%) of adults reported that they had never smoked, nearly one third (31.0%) were ex-smokers and the remaining 1.8% smoked, but less often than daily. Rates of daily smoking have decreased consistently over the past decade, from 18.9% in 2007-08 and 22.4% in 2001. Decreases in smoking rates have occurred across all age groups, and particularly amongst people aged less than 45 years. The goal for Australia is to reduce the amount of people who smoke to 8% or less, and these results so far have revealed success in this goal. Developing personal skills supports personal and social development by using information and resources that educate health benefits to enhance life skills. In gaining these skills individuals can make informed decisions to take control of their lives. Strategies employed by the National tobacco Campaign 2011 to address the issue of cancer/disease have so far been successful in getting their point across, such as the Quitline campaign, and one of its many supporting advertisements.  This advertisement uses shock tactics and the easy to understand analogy of the sponge soaking up the cigarette smoke instead of air forces the smokers to really think about what they are consuming. The end catch line “it’s enough to make you sick…really sick” makes the smoker realise what they are doing to themselves, and the ads final urge to call the Quitline is more likely to be acted upon out of fear. This means that all the responsibility of the smoker’s actions, and the consequences of them, are theirs. Creating supportive environments and strengthening community actions are two aspects of the Ottawa Charter that go hand in hand, as the community needs to come together to create a supportive environment for the smokers. There has been great success in these areas recently through Clean up Australia Day having a specific day to clean up cigarette butts. This woke up many Australian communities as to how big the epidemic of smoking is. An estimated seven billion butts are littered around Australia annually.  This statistic was recorded in 2009, and was expected to reduce by 25% by 2015.
Reorienting health services and building healthy public policy need help from the government to fulfil the Ottawa Charter’s suggestions of how to rectify the problems. Through the cancer council and the new laws about not smoking: within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public spaces, spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas, railway platforms, light rail stops, light rail stations, bus stops, taxi ranks and ferry wharves and within four metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building.  These new laws aim to eradicate smoking from individual’s daily lives, and heavy fines are a punishment for any offence.
Smoking has been something that people do at social gatherings and for recreation for a very long time, and used to be presumed as “cool”. Now that all the research has been performed to show how dangerous smoking is, and the Ottawa Charter has helped make smoking “uncool” and “gross”, people have woken up and have had success taking action against their addictions.
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[ 1 ]. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 2013. Tobacco Smoking. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/E3E02505DCAF230CCA257B82001794EB?opendocument. [Accessed 22 June 13]. [ 2 ]. YouTube - Broadcast yourself. 2011. Quit Smoking commercial. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5F0fJkVQbA. [Accessed 22 June 13]. [ 3 ]. Butt Litter Prevention | Butt Free Australia. 2009. AFL & NRL Grand Finals Butt Litter - Media Release. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.buttlitteringtrust.org/. [Accessed 22 June 13]. [ 4 ]. NSW