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Indigenous smokers want to quit and anti-smoking campaigns do work, study suggests

Date posted: 2 June 2015

Mainstream anti-smoking campaigns are just as effective for Indigenous as non-Indigenous smokers, a new study suggests, countering 'pessimism... that nothing has worked or is working'.

The study follows a $130 million cut over five years to the Commonwealth's Tackling Indigenous smoking program - an initiative that had been prompted by statistics showing smoking accounts for about 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

The daily smoking rate within the Indigenous population has fallen to 42%, but that figure is still more than two-and-a-half times the rate of the non-Indigenous population. According to the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research, the new research counters a practice of assuming anti-smoking campaigns are less effective for Indigenous smokers.

'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are just as likely as all Australian smokers to want to quit and to have recently tried to quit, but are less likely to make sustained quit attempts,' a Menzies summary of the research stated.

Menzies Associate Professor, David Thomas, said the result 'gives us great confidence that messages and advice about quitting will be welcomed and understood'. 'We have found that a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers recalled being advised to quit by a health professional in the past year than of a similar sample of all Australian smokers,' he said.

Mr Thomas said the new research, combined with statistics showing the high rates of smoking in the non-Indigenous population, justified the need for continued and increased government investment in both targeted and mainstream anti-smoking and quit campaigns.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 2 June 2015
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute