Associate Professor Marita Hefler
Principal Research Fellow
PhD, 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:
Principal Supervisor for PhD
Marita’s research program within the Global and Tropical Health Division focuses on paradigm-shifting tobacco control policy and ‘endgame’ strategies such as phasing out commercial sales of cigarettes. She has broad experience in tobacco control research, including use of social media to reduce smoking among First Nations peoples, smoke free prisons, youth smoking and monitoring tobacco industry activities. Achieving equity in smoking prevalence reductions is a high priority in her work.
Marita has particular expertise in qualitative research approaches, monitoring and evaluation. She has designed and led several research projects and evaluations of public health programs in partnership with Australian Indigenous communities and previously in South East Asia. Her sectoral experience spans mental health, lifecourse approaches to understanding health trajectories and disparities, youth health, health communication and justice.
Since joining Menzies, Marita has contributed to over $7 million in research and consultancy funding, including a Heart Foundation Australia Post-Doctoral Fellowship and two National Health & Medical Research Council-funded projects. She is a Senior Editor, and was previously the News Editor, for the BMJ specialist publication Tobacco Control. Marita co-supervises five PhD students and two masters research project students and is co-lecturer/coordinator for both the Qualitative Research and Indigenous Health units in the Menzies Master of Public Health program. She has prepared curriculum and delivered training and teaching in a range of other contexts, both online and face-to-face, from entry-level vocational and workplace-based training through to postgraduate level.
- Indigenous health
- Smoking, alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviours
- Tobacco Control
- Preventive Health
- Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study
- Qualitative Research
- Tane, M. P., Hefler, M., & Thomas, D. P. (2019). Smokefree leadership among the Yolŋu peoples of East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory: a qualitative study. Global Health Promotion, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757975919829405
- Hefler, M., Kerrigan, V., Freeman, B., Boot, G. R., & Thomas, D. P. (2019). Using Facebook to reduce smoking among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: A participatory grounded action study. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-21. . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6918-7, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889- 019-6918-7
- Thomas, D. P., Hefler, M., Bonevski, B., Calma, T., Carapetis, J., Chamberlain, C., ... Wakefield, M. (2018). Australian researchers oppose funding from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(6), 506-507. https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12861
- Watts, C., Hefler, M., & Freeman, B. (2019). ‘We have a rich heritage and, we believe, a bright future’: how transnational tobacco companies are using Twitter to oppose policy and shape their public identity. Tobacco Control, 28(2), 227-232. https://doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-054188https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/28/2/227
- Hefler, M., Kerrigan, V., Henryks, J., Freeman, B., Thomas, DP., (2018) Social media and health information sharing among Australian Indigenous people. Health Promotion International, 1-10, doi:10.1093/heapro/day018. https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/34/4/706/4973719
- Hefler, M., (2018) The changing nicotine product landscape: time to outlaw sales of combustible tobacco products? Tobacco Control, ;27(1):1-2 doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053969. https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/27/1/1
- Tane, M. P., Hefler, M., & Thomas, D. P. (2018). An evaluation of the ‘Yaka Ŋarali’’ Tackling Indigenous Smoking program in East Arnhem Land: Yolŋu people and their connection to ŋarali’. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 29(1), 10-17. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.1
- Hefler, M., & Carter, S. M. (2019). Smoking to fit a stigmatised identity? A qualitative study of marginalised young people in Australia. Health, 23(3), 306–324. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459317745690
- Hefler, M., Liberato, S. C., Thomas, D. P., (2017) Incentives for preventing smoking in children and adolescents. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (6). doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008645.pub3. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008645.pub3/full
- Hefler, M., Hopkins, R., & Thomas, D. P. (2016). Successes and unintended consequences of the Northern Territory's smoke-free prisons policy: Results from a process evaluation. Public Health Research and Practice, 26(2), [e2621619]. https://doi.org/10.17061/phrp262161/>
Click here to view more Marita Hefler publications in PubMed, ResearchGate and ORCID profile
Senior Researcher Menzies School of Health Research, Dr Marita Hefler, says tobacco availability should be “drastically reduced”.
Senior Researcher at the Menzies School of Health Research Dr Marita Hefler says there also needs to be a plan in place to help retailers deal with declining cigarette sales.
This World No Tobacco Day, 148 health organisations have signed an open letter calling on governments to work towards phasing out commercial cigarette sales.
The lessons learned in 2020 from the bold actions taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to consider equally bold actions that will be required to tackle other global health pandemics.
The Centre for Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame (CREATE) will involve researchers from 11 institutions with the aim of phasing out smoking for good.
A public health study into the effectiveness of tobacco control strategies in East Arnhem Land has found no evidence of smoking-related stigma among Yolngu people.
The world will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic changed. Phasing out cigarette sales would be an enormous long-term gain for public health.
Menzies School of Health head of tobacco research David Thomas said there simply was not enough evidence about the potential health benefits.
NT Tobacco Control Action Committee chairman David Thomas said the plan placed special emphasis on reducing harm for Aboriginal Territorians, who suffered the greatest burden from tobacco use.
The Territory Government has released its plan to improve the health of all Territorians by reducing the harm caused by tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke, and to prevent uptake by young people.
NT News | Sharing health message on FB
Positive health-related social media posts that provide new information are more likely to be shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to encourage healthy behaviours, a study has found.
The time has come to think seriously about the impact smoking has on us - NT News Opinion Jill Poulsen.
Menzies School of Health researcher Dr Marita Hefler says the rapid evolution of alternative nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, meant outlawing combustible tobacco, including cigarettes, was now possible.
NT academic says outlawing smokes is not impossible THE rise in popularity of ecigarettes could open the door to a legislated ban on the sale of cigarettes, according to a Northern Territory academic.
In a commentary published in the international journal Tobacco Control, Dr Marita Hefler said “The ongoing availability of cigarettes is an historical anomaly. Any other consumer product that kills up to two-thirds of its long-term users remaining legal is unimaginable.”
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.
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.
An evaluation of the Northern Territory’s smoke free prison policy has been published today in the online journal, Public Health Research & Practice.
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.