Post B: Is smoking just always going to be considered cool?

“The bottom line is smoking cool and you know it,” Chandler Bing (Friends 1994).

With a long of history of stigma with smoking equalling ‘being cool’ this type of association had led tobacco companies to frequently direct their advertising to youth with the message of ‘smoking is cool.’ Initiatives around the world have worked hard in order to oppose and overcome this type of advertising and social illusion.

The California Tobacco Control Program or the CTCP is a leading example of how targeting this specific tobacco trend can lead to a long-term reduction of tobacco use. The California Department of Public Health; the founder and funder of the CTCP, have estimated through their work for over 30 years now in overcoming social challenges with tobacco use in California, has reduced the number of tobacco users from 1 in 5 persons, to 1 in 8 (CTCP 2017). CTCP’s aim is it ‘denormalise’ social acceptance of tobacco use (CTCP 2017). With their deep understanding and experience with tobacco use and studying the emerging trends in society, the CTCP have recently directed their fight to e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are a handheld electronic device which mimics the experience of normal tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes come in a range of types such as with or without nicotine and also in a variety of flavours such as fruit or candy. In recent years, the ‘smoking is cool’ trend has directed its path to the act of smoking an e-cigarette called vaping, which has rapidly increased as a social trend, particularly within youth. This trend has led tobacco companies to directly advertise e-cigarettes to young people (American Academy of Paediatrics 2014). However, as CTCP explores, there is a social disillusion with the safety of e-cigarette, with users ignoring that e-cigarettes most frequently possess nicotine.

There’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping. Wake up. California Department of Public Health 2015

CTCP has launched a campaign ‘Still Blowing Smoke’ in order to fight the use of e-cigarettes and the blurred understanding of what an e-cigarette is. The aim of this campaign is to educate the youth in particular to the potential dangerous harms of e-cigarette use. The campaign encompasses online advertising, a website and TV commercials, and is also a high school program to educate the youth before they start. These platforms make explicit of the potential harms of e-cigarette use and the need to dissociate vaping with ‘being cool.’

‘Smoking is cool’ is a statement that the majority would argue now is not applicable. However, through exploring campaigns that counter oppose current trends with tobacco use, such as ‘Still Blowing Smoke’ by the CTCP, it is clear that the trend it still alive, but has just manifested into new markets within the tobacco industry.

Reference List:

American Academy of Paediatrics 2014, Expose to Electronic Cigarette Television Advertisements Among Youth and Young Adults, AAP News & Journals Gateway, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Bach, L. 2017, Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids: Electronic Cigarettes and Youth, Tobacco Free Kids, viewed <>

Broadwin, E. 2013, Tobacco Companies Still Target Youth Despite a Global Treaty, Scientific American, viewed 9 December 2017  <>

California Department of Public Health 2015, Still Blowing Smoke, CTCP, viewed 12 December 2017 <>

CTCP 2017, California Tobacco Control Program, CDPH, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Lightwood, J. 2013, The Effect of the California Tobacco Control Program on Smoking Prevalence, Cigarette Consumption, and Healthcare Costs: 1989-2008, PLoS ONE, viewed 9 December 2017 <>

Pierce, J. & Gilpin, E. & Emery, S. 1998, Has the California Tobacco Control Program Reduced Smoking?, The JAMA Network, viewed 10 December 2017 <>

Rogers, T. 2010, The California Tobacco Control Program: introduction to the 20-year retrospective, Tobacco Control, viewed 10 December 2017 <>

Still Blowing Smoke 2017, Still Blowing Smoke, CTCP, viewed 9 December 2017  <>




POST D: Erupting volcano; natural disaster or natural phenomena?

Headlines of destruction, danger and tourist safety have flooded the Australian news recently due to the ongoing volcanic eruption of Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia (Hannam 2017). But whilst the Australian news captures this natural occurrence as a natural disaster, the Balinese perceive this event as a natural phenomenon. But what’s the difference? For Australians, a natural disaster encompasses; hurricanes and flooding, while supermoons and rainbows are categorized as natural phenomena (Brook 2016). However, for the Balinese, natural phenomena include the wonder of volcanic eruptions.

Located within the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is home to frequent and large-scale natural occurrences. With a history filled with an assortment of experiences with natural events from volcanic eruptions to tsunamis (The Jakarta Post 2016), Indonesians have developed a unique reaction to these events overtime.

The recent eruption of Mount Agung, has illuminated this almost foreign response to natural disasters, when compared to how Australians handle these catastrophic situations. The Balinese are no stranger to volcanic eruptions, and it is through this past experience, knowledge and sacred outlook on these natural structures, which has stemmed this almost unnatural peaceful attitude (Mallonee 2017). The Balinese describe the eruption of Mount Agung as being ‘part of a natural cycle’ (BBC 2017) which will offer ‘gifts’ of new rocks and a more fertile land than before.

The Balinese Hindus believe that the four volcanic mountains within Bali; Agung, Batur, Abang and Batukaru, ‘form Bali’s backbone’ (Radu 2017) and is held of high value and sacredness. Mount Agung; translated to ‘The Great Mountain’ is the largest point in Bali and is believed to be home to one of their gods, the deity Shiva (Reuter 2002). The sacred value of Mount Agung combined with false alarms of eruptions in the past has led the majority of the Balinese to choose to stay within their home; within the danger zone of the erupting volcano.

“Emergency call counter in a hotel in Bali. There are many hotels with a so-called ‘tsunami ready’ certificate.” Hahn, M. & Hartung, J.

For the Balinese, the eruption of Mount Agung is a message from the gods which can only be controlled through rituals and prayers for their safety and avoiding disaster (Reuter 2002). Dwea Ketut Soma; a Pura Besakih priest, suggests that only through sincere prayers will the eruption be tamed and not catastrophic. However, if the Balinese were to ignore their ritual duties, the scale of the eruption will be disastrous (Radu 2017).

When faced with natural threats, the immediate Australian response is to evacuate and find safety (Stuart 2017). However, for Indonesians and the Balinese in particular, their peaceful attitude has been formed through their religious views and past experiences. Consequently, shifting events such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes from natural disasters to natural phenomena.

A map showing the intrinsic relationship between the land of Bali and it’s four mountains; Mount Batukaru, Batur, Abang and Agung.

Reference List:

BBC 2017, Bali on alert as feared and revered volcano rumbles, BBC, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Brook, B. 2016, ­­Supermoon, which will look brighter and larger than any moon for 68 years, to pass by Earth on 14 November, Australia, News, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Cameron, L. & Shah, M. 2015, ‘Risk-Taking Behavior in the Wake of Natural Disasters’, JHR: The Journal of Human Resources, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 484-515

Casimir, M. 2008, Culture and the Changing Environment: Uncertainty, Cognition and Risk Management in Cross-cultural Perspective, Berghahn Books, New York

Hahn, M. & Hartung, J. Beauty and the Beast, Hahn+Hartung, viewed 4 December 2017 < >

Hannan, P. 2017, ‘Potential for major impacts’: Australian team readies for Bali’s Mt Agung eruption, Australia, SMH, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

Kuzma-Floyd, E. 2017, No. 3 Mount Agung Erupting, Eyes of a Nomad, viewed 4 December 2017<>

Mallonee, L. 2017, What it’s like living in the land of natural disasters, Wired, viewed 4 December 2017 <>

Radu, A. 2017, Balinese Hindus await the eruption of Mount Agung, home of a god, RNS: Religion News Service, viewed 3 December 2017 <>

Reuter, T. 2002, Custodians of the Sacred Mountains: Culture and Society in the Highlands of Bali, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, Hawaii

Stuart, R. 2017, NSW floods: One dead, 20,000 evacuated as water inundates Murwillumbah, Lismore, Australia, ABC, viewed 1 December 2017 <>

The Jakarta Post 2016, Indonesia sees highest number of natural disasters in 10 years, Jakarta, The Jakarta Post, viewed 1 December 2017 <>