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Focus, funding and Aboriginal educators key to stopping Indigenous smoking

Date posted: 19 November 2015

Indigenous man, Joseph Knuth had been smoking for 34 years, since he was 12 years old. He gave up 10 days ago, after seeing far too many friends and family members die from lung cancer.

Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman, a specialist in Indigenous health at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said lung cancer was the second largest cause of premature death among Indigenous Australians and the rates were increasing, despite the Indigenous smoking rate dropping from 54 to 44% over the past decade. By comparison, smoking rates in the non-Indigenous population are around 17%.

Dr Tom Calma, an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan tribal group who runs the national Tackling Indigenous mmoking program, said a consistent approach and more funding was needed. 'One of the key challenges we find with politics is the lack of consistent approach to policy implementation and funding,' Dr Calma said.

He said he hoped the current Coalition Government recognised this and said he had received assurances there would be a renewed focus on Aboriginal health policy in 2016.

'That plan is very important, because it is done in conjunction with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it has a long-term focus,' Dr Calma said. 'That's the sort of effort we need to see continuing. We need a ramping up of funding and support to tackling Indigenous smoking if we are going to make a difference.'

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 20 November 2015
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