Dr Michelle Jongenelis, Deputy Director, Western Australian Cancer Prevention Research Unit (WACPRU) and Research Fellow, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology at Curtin University in Western Australia
Electronic Cigarette Awareness, Use, and Perceptions in Australian Young Adults
Recent years have seen significant increases in the awareness and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). However, the vast majority of research in this area has been conducted in the US (and more recently in Europe) where the regulatory landscape is different to that of Australia. In light of the lack of Australian-based research (likely hindering regulatory efforts), an online national survey of over 1000 young Australian adults was conducted to assess awareness, current prevalence, and attitudes towards e-cigarettes. Awareness of e-cigarettes among this population was very high. Additionally, over a third of young Australian adults had ever used an e-cigarette, with a sizable minority reporting past 30 day use. Current tobacco cigarette smokers were significantly more likely to use e-cigarettes compared to past tobacco cigarette smokers and non-smokers. Overall, attitudes towards both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes were negatively skewed but a substantial proportion of respondents did not know about the harmful or addictive nature of e-cigarettes. Results suggest that there may be scope to improve knowledge about the harms associated with e-cigarette use. Additionally, the finding that a substantial minority of current users reported being worried that their current use is damaging their health or will damage their health in the future suggests that users may be receptive to messages designed to modify their consumption behaviours.
Dr Anna Wilkinson, Research Fellow, Cancer Council Victoria
Sexual health and social marketing: we do it on billboards too
Like cancer prevention, sexual health has used mass media to influence behaviour among populations. Campaigns have ranged from the grim to the humorous, sexually explicit to the somewhat ambiguous. After the initial HIV epidemic, diagnoses declined considerably; however HIV notifications began increasing around 2000, with diagnoses mostly among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM). Increasing diagnoses prompted a renewal of the public health response to HIV and other sexually transmissible infections in Victoria, including implementing a large social marketing campaign, "Drama Downunder" (DDU; http://www.thedramadownunder.info/). Launched in 2008, DDU aimed to increase sexual health knowledge, promote condom use and prompt HIV/STI testing. The paper presented here evaluated the impact of DDU on HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia testing (2007-2013) using an interrupted time series analysis and a Poisson regression model. The seminar will also briefly discuss new paradigms of HIV prevention and subsequent challenges in communicating increasingly complex messages such as ‘treatment as prevention' and pre-exposure prophylaxis. The seminar will also share ideas from my former workplace, the Burnet Institute, on innovative data collection methods used to evaluate interventions including automated data extraction, recruiting from social networking sites, maintaining online cohorts and online data collection.