Efficacy of communication techniques and health outcomes of bushfire smoke exposure: A scoping review

Emily Heaney, Laura Hunter, Angus Clulow, Devin Bowles, Sotiris Vardoulakis*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Public health officials communicate the relevant risks of bushfire smoke exposure and associated health protection measures to affected populations. Increasing global bushfire incidence in the context of climate change motivated this scoping review. English-language publications related to adverse health outcomes following bushfire smoke exposure and publications relating to communication during natural disasters were included. Bushfire smoke events potentially increase healthcare contact, especially presentations triggered by respiratory illness. At-risk populations include those with underlying cardiorespiratory disease, elderly, paediatric, pregnant persons, and First Nations people. We found that social media, television, and radio are among the most common information sources utilised in bushfire smoke events. Message style, content, and method of delivery can directly influence message uptake and behaviour modification. Age, rurality, and geographical location influence information source preferences. Culturally and linguistically diverse groups and those with hearing, vision, and mobility-related disabilities may benefit from targeted health recommendations. This review emphasises the health effects of bushfire smoke exposure and related communication recommendations during and after bushfire smoke events. Additional investigation may further clarify the health effects of bushfire smoke exposure and efficacy of related health messaging, particularly in at-risk populations. Quantitative comparison of communication methods may yield more specific recommendations for future bushfire smoke events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number10889
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number20
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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