For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of ill health and early death, and responsible for around one in five deaths. More national statistics.
The Australian Government has delivered a targeted programme to reduce Indigenous smoking rates (Tackling Indigenous Smoking) with a regional grants programme to fund Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle Teams since 2010. It also supported the important complementary role of primary health care services in the delivery of brief interventions, and developed nationwide media campaigns targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as part of the National Tobacco Campaign, including Break the Chain television, radio, digital and print advertising, and the More Targeted Approach, Quit for You, Quit for Two targeting pregnant women.
The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that all actions taken to address high rates of smoking are based on the available evidence, and are delivered in the most appropriate, effective and efficient way. To support this, a review of Tackling Indigenous Smoking was commissioned by the Department of Health. The review was undertaken by the University of Canberra in 2014 and included stakeholder input in various forms.
Informed by the review, a revised TIS programme with a budget of $116.8 million over 3 years ($35.3 million in 2015-16; $37.5 million in 2016-17 and $44 million in 2017-18) was announced by Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, on 29 May 2015.
The programme consists of the following components:
- Regional tobacco control grants to support multi-level approaches to tobacco control that are locally designed and delivered to prevent the uptake of smoking and support smoking cessation among Indigenous Australians (through a targeted grant round commencing in August 2015). Funding for the new grants will commence from 1 January 2016.
- A National Best Practice Unit (NBPU) to support regional tobacco control grant recipients through evidence-based resource sharing, information dissemination, advice and mentoring, workforce development, and monitoring and evaluation, with support and leadership provided by the National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking, Professor Tom Calma AO (the NBPU was sourced through an open tender process. A consortium led by Ninti One and including the University of Canberra, University of Sydney and Edith Cowan University will operate the NPBU);
- Enhancements to existing Quitline services and provision of frontline community and health worker brief intervention training;
- Programme Evaluation and Monitoring which includes the design of an evaluation and monitoring framework to be used for the development of local and national performance indicators for grant reporting and to guide overall programme evaluation. The Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre (CIRCA) has been contracted to develop the Programme Evaluation and Monitoring Framework and undertake the programme evaluation: and
- Special projects in areas of high need including those of significant disadvantage associated with high smoking rates, and within specific groups such as pregnant women and young people susceptible to taking up smoking, for commencement in mid-2016.