Dr Marita Hefler

Research Fellow


PhD in Medicine, University of Sydney, 2017; Master of Public Health, UNSW, 2004; Graduate Diploma International Social Development, UNSW, 2003; Bachelor of Asian Studies, ANU 1998

Approved level of HDR supervision at Charles Darwin University:

Associate Supervisor for Masters


Darwin – Royal Darwin Hospital campus


Marita joined the tobacco control research team in 2013. Her current research interests are the use of social media to enhance tobacco control, and smoke free prisons policy. She has published on use of social media for tobacco control advocacy, and been a resource expert for social media in tobacco control for a range of international workshops.

Marita has a particular interest in tobacco control approaches for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations; her PhD examined the smoking trajectories of highly marginalised young people. She also has a background in program evaluation, and has led a number of evaluations of public health programs in Australia and internationally.  

Marita is the Co-Coordinator and Lecturer for the Menzies Master of Public Health unit Qualitative Research Methods, and is the News Editor for the BMJ specialist publication Tobacco Control. 


  1. Hefler M, Liberato SC, Thomas DP. (accepted, in press) Incentives for preventing smoking in children and adolescents. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews.

  2. Hefler M, Hopkins R, Thomas DP. (2016) Successes and unintended consequences of the Northern Territory's smoke free prisons policy: results from a process evaluation, Public Health Research & Practice, 26(2) e2621619

  3. Thomas DP, Hefler M. (2016) How to reduce adolescent smoking in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet Global Health, 4(11): e762-763.

  4. Morrissey, H., Ball, P., Martin, P., Hefler, M., & Thomas, D. (2015). Constituents of smoke from cigarettes made from diverted nicotine replacement therapy patches. Drug and Alcohol Review (Accepted, forthcoming).

  5. Hefler, M., & Chapman, S. (2014). Disadvantaged youth and smoking in mature tobacco control contexts: a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative research. Tobacco Control

  6. Hefler, M., & Thomas, D. (2014). Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services Smoke Free Prisons Policy: Preliminary Evaluation, Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research

  7. Hefler, M., Freeman, B., & Chapman, S. (2013). Tobacco control advocacy in the age of social media: using Facebook, Twitter and Change. Tobacco Control, 22(3): 210-214. 

  8. Hefler, M. (2012). Social media strategies of the public health sector: lessons learned to advance tobacco control. Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Bangkok.

  9. Hefler, M. (2012). Project evaluation: ‘Yaka Ngarali’ Tobacco Control Program, 2009-2011, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, Nhulunbuy.

  10. Hefler, M., Nguyen, T. H., Ngo, P. A., Le, T., & Nguyen, D. (2012). Vietnam Urban Childhood Blindness Prevention Project: Final Evaluation Report. The Fred Hollows Foundation: Hanoi.

  1. Jails escape worst link to smokes ban

    Jails escape worst link to smokes ban


    TERRITORY prisons have escaped the worst of tobacco black markets, violence and low compliance rates that researchers have penned as problems amid smoking bans in southern states, an expert has said.

  2. The evaluation of Northern Territory’s smoke-free prison policy: successes and unexpected results

    The evaluation of Northern Territory’s smoke-free prison policy: successes and unexpected results


    An evaluation of the Northern Territory’s smoke free prison policy has been published today in the online journal, Public Health Research & Practice.

  3. Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates

    Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates


    Indigenous people have the highest rates of smoking in the country, but researchers in the Top End believe Facebook could be the most effective way of helping them quit.

  4. Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates, ABC TV

    Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates, ABC TV


    Smoking causes 1/5 deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Many social media tobacco control campaigns exist, but there is minimal understanding of their effectiveness.