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National research shows the way to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking

Date posted: 29 June 2015

A landmark series of 15 scientific papers, published at the beginning of the year, illustrate how reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking is achievable, how this is happening now, and why continued government investment is justified.

Menzies Associate Professor, David Thomas, leader of the national Talking about the smokes research project explains that high numbers of Indigenous smokers want to quit, have made a quit attempt in the last year, live in smoke-free homes, and work in smoke-free workplaces.

'Most of our participants reported knowing about the most harmful health effects of smoking and hold negative attitudes towards smoking which gives us great confidence that messages and advice about quitting will be welcomed and understood,' Professor Thomas said.

'Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services are now all smoke-free and have increased their focus on tobacco control. We 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. 'But still more can be done to help people to stay quit once they have tried to quit.'

The national prevalence of daily smoking in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is falling, but at 42% is still 2.6 times that of other Australians. Smoking causes one-sixth of the health gap and one-fifth of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths.

The results are from the baseline survey conducted from April 2012 to October 2013. The Talking about the smokes team are now analysing results from follow-up surveys conducted a year later.

Source: Menzies School of Health Research


Last updated: 25 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