Population Health
Health Promotion

Close the Gap

Aboriginal Tobacco Control Project

Why do we need an Aboriginal Tobacco Control Project?

The smoking rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who are current daily smokers is more than double the rate than in the non- Aboriginal population. Tobacco use is a major preventable contributor to the gap in life expectancy 1 & 2. Community ownership and flexibility of tobacco control interventions has been recognised as vital to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop initiatives appropriate to their needs. 3 & 4

Addressing the smoking rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is identified as a priority in the NSW 2021 Plan and NSW Tobacco Strategy 2012-2017.

In response to high smoking rates, a partnership project was established to develop a culturally appropriate tobacco control project for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community residing in south west Sydney.

The Aboriginal Tobacco Control Project aims to reduce smoking prevalence in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population residing in south west Sydney by 5%t.

The project partnership involves three Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations:

  • Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern (AMS)
  • Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation (TAC)
  • Babana Aboriginal Men's Group

With support from South Western Sydney and Sydney Local Health Districts (SWS & SLHD) Health Promotion Service (HPS) and Aboriginal Health Units.

A Steering Committee with representatives from each partner organisation has overseen all aspects of project development, implementation and evaluation.

The project commenced in 2010 with ethics approval from the (former) Sydney South West Area Health Service and AH&MRC ethics committees and a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

The project was officially launched by the former Governor of NSW Marie Bashir, in October 2011, coinciding with the first advertising phase.

Community involvement and input have been instrumental in determining strategies for the project.

Health Promotion - Close the Gap - Aboriginal Tobacco Control Project

Strategies implemented as part of the project include:

  • Social marketing including three advertising phases
  • Culturally appropriate and localised resources
  • Website http://www.iquitbecause.org.au/
  • Facebook www.facebook.com/iquitbecause
  • Promotion at community events including Yabun, NAIDOC, Close the Gap and World No Tobacco Day
  • Community grants program
  • Quit group programs
  • Training and supporting staff to implement tobacco cessation brief advice.

Surveys of smoking prevalence, smoke free homes, knowledge and attitudes, intention to quit and preferred methods have been undertaken face-to-face at two Aboriginal Medical Services and community events across south west Sydney.

The project team is planning to conduct its final round of evaluation commencing late November 2014.

Remember to stop smoking and let your body heal.

www.iquitbecause.org.au or check out Facebook_logo_(square) (2)  www.facebook.com/iquitbecause

Further information contact: Natasha McEwan on 02 4640 3544 or email Natasha.McEwan@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no 25. Cat no. PHE 145. Canberra: AIHW 2011
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011 Substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Cat no. IHW 40. Canberra: AIHW 2011
  3. South Australian Department of Health. Indigenous Smoking Scoping Study: prepared for South Australian Department of Health. Adelaide (AUST): South Australia Department of Health; March 2008.
  4. Winstanley M, van der Sterren A, Knoche D. Tobacco use among Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. In: Scollo MM, Winstanley MH, editors. Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. 4th ed. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2012. [cited 2014 Aug 15].
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Page last updated: 17 March, 2015