Decentralised public education campaigns for tobacco control by Malaysian youth tobacco control advocates towards smoke-free generation
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Malaysian Green Lung Association, Malaysia
USM Green Lung Secretariat, Malaysia
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A424
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Background and challenges to implementation:
The scientific evidence shows that public education campaigns prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youths and reduce the smoking prevalence. However In Malaysia, it is observed that the tobacco control campaign activities are passive and less appealing to young population and thus less cost-effective.

Intervention or response:
Malaysian Green Lung Association (MGLA), as the only youth-run civil society organisation for tobacco control in Malaysia, actively works together with Ministry of Health Malaysia and state health departments to promote and disseminate anti-tobacco messages to the general public via inexpensive and active way. In year 2015, MGLA pilot tested an idea during the state-level celebration of World No Tobacco Day in the World Heritage Site of George Town, Penang. One centralised exhibition site was set up by the Penang State Health Department at the Penang Youth Centre, involving canopy setup and exhibition booths. Meanwhile MGLA set up five mobile exhibition spots by the walkways in front of the shop houses and tourist attractions around the Penang Youth Centre, which involved two advocates and one informative poster per spot. Station games were introduced to actively involve general public especially youngsters and families to find clues and check in all five exhibition spots.

Results and lessons learnt:
It is observed that instead of organising the exhibition at one central setting, decentralising public education campaign by setting up multiple exhibition touch points at different parts of the area does not only increase the coverage of the campaign, but also encourage active participation from the general public and local stakeholders. Besides, such approach greatly saved cost especially the infrastructures setup and rental cost to attain the similar outcomes as centralised campaign.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Decentralised public education campaign was preliminarily shown to be more cost-effective in engaging the general public actively. This approach could be duplicated under limited financial resources to achieve the similar outcomes.

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