Event Abstract

Using social media (particularly Facebook) for preventative tobacco control amongst teenagers in Botswana by building resilience and stripping the aspiration out of smoking.

  • 1 good business, United Kingdom

Tobacco use rates amongst young people have been rising rapidly in many countries across Africa. The problem is particularly acute for young women, who traditionally do not use tobacco. Teen girl tobacco use significantly exceeds adult women tobacco use in multiple markets, including Botswana, suggesting an epidemic in the making. Good Business has developed and launched a social media led tobacco prevention programme in Botswana based around a new teen brand called SKY. The programme uses social marketing to create health related behaviour change. SKY is a girl led movement which is all about girls 'being true' to themselves, and expressing themselves through the choices they make about things, including a choice about tobacco. The programme is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The SKY Facebook page is the central hub of the community, it is where the girls express what they like 'sure ka yone' and what they don't like 'shapo ka yone,' share their views about things, and support each other. It is also where a lot of discussion around tobacco takes place, and girls commit to saying 'shapo' to tobacco. All other programme activity and content - from the magazine we publish to the radio show teen girls host - is also added to the Facebook page where it is shared between and discussed by girls. This significantly amplifies the impact of this other activity, and therefore its cost effectiveness. The SKY facebook page is in the top 10 most 'liked' Facebook pages in the country. Other social media, including Twitter and Instagram, form a supporting role in the movement, and we also use WhatsApp chat groups to build smaller networks within the SKY community to help build and develop the movement and to embed our tobacco free message. We have also recently launched a vlog which acts as a great vehicle for our tobacco related messaging. Initial results suggest that the we are effectively using social media as part of our broader programme to stop girls from taking up smoking. We achieved the targets set against the majority of our key performance indicators around tobacco related attitudes, perceptions and behaviours in the endline study conducted by the University of Botswana at the end of our first grant period, and have been awarded a second grant from the Foundation to continue the programme. See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Acknowledgements

The Dialogue Group, Botswana
Perfect Day, London
The project team, Good Business, London

Keywords: facebook, Social Marketing, Behaviour Change, Tobacco Control, resilience, WhatsApp chat groups, Botswana

Conference: 3rd UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Digital Health Conference 2017: Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change, London, United Kingdom, 22 Feb - 23 Feb, 2017.

Presentation Type: Application abstract

Topic: Digital Health

Citation: Persons L (2017). Using social media (particularly Facebook) for preventative tobacco control amongst teenagers in Botswana by building resilience and stripping the aspiration out of smoking.. Front. Public Health. Conference Abstract: 3rd UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Digital Health Conference 2017: Harnessing digital technology for behaviour change. doi: 10.3389/conf.FPUBH.2017.03.00047

Received: 22 Feb 2017; Published Online: 22 Feb 2017.

* Correspondence: Mrs. Larissa Persons, good business, London, W1D6JL, United Kingdom, larissapersons@gmail.com

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