Dr. Sandy Fitzgerald, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at RMIT University, emphasises the need to alter the narrative surrounding anti-vaping measures. Current interventions, she suggests, can often come across as overbearing or punitive, particularly to those under 25.
“The government needs a different approach to their previous anti-smoking campaigns as this is a whole new generation they are targeting,” Dr. Fitzgerald stated.
She highlighted the importance of understanding the vaper’s perspective and their motivation to vape, especially in the context of social acceptance and identity among peers.
The Journey of Change: From Habit to Autonomy
Breaking an established habit or addiction is never easy; it requires effort, appropriate assistance, and impactful social messaging. However, the campaign shouldn’t make the vapers feel marginalized or ridiculed.
“A successful campaign must be communicative and make vapers feel that they are not singled out and made to feel that they are stupid or dumb just because they were curious to try vaping in the first place,” Dr. Fitzgerald further added.
A Value Proposition to Quit Vaping: Autonomy Over Addiction
According to Dr. Fitzgerald, anti-vaping campaigns need to present a compelling value proposition that resonates with young vapers. The idea that vaping seizes their autonomy, turning them into pawns of the tobacco industry, might prove to be a powerful deterrent.
“Vapers (who we know are typically under 25) may find that information confronting and perhaps start questioning if they wish to be controlled and have their autonomy stripped away by Big Tobacco because they vape. ,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.
The concept of vaping compromising their freedom, especially in terms of their future financial prospects, can provoke introspection about the real beneficiaries of their vaping habit.
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Dr. Sandy Fitzgerald’s research focuses on improving the well-being of consumers, employees, and communities by understanding, measuring, and managing factors that influence their health habits. She believes that delivering this message in schools, led by respected student leaders, could be an effective method to shift perspectives on vaping, summarizing her views with a powerful tagline: “You are vaping your freedom away.”