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Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates, Northern Territory health researchers say

Date posted: 22 November 2016

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.

Aboriginal people living in remote communities smoke at three times the rate of other Australians, according to Research Fellow Marita Hefler from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Northern Territory (NT). 'We know that Aboriginal people use social media at very high rates; it's been taken up even in remote communities, particularly where people have limited communication through other means,' Ms Hefler said.

After suffering a heart attack on her 50th birthday, Chuna Lowah is trying to quit smoking, and is hopeful Facebook can help. Ms Lowah has been a smoker for more than half her life and agrees the tough traditional anti-smoking ads are too easy to ignore. 'On Facebook I have seen some of my friends quitting smoking, using Facebook as a diary, and they've been very successful. I'm hoping that sharing my experiences will also help me quit,' said Ms Lowah.

Preliminary research into the role of Facebook in helping smokers to quit has found that although the living situations of Indigenous Australians differs widely across the NT, even those who lack food or clothing may still own a smartphone.

Source: ABC News


Last updated: 22 November 2016
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute