Helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities tackle smoking

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will benefit from innovative projects to tackle smoking, through new grants awarded to seven organisations under the Australian Government’s $116.8 million Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

Page last updated: 08 November 2016

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8 November 2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will benefit from innovative projects to tackle smoking, through new grants awarded to seven organisations under the Australian Government’s $116.8 million Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

These organisations will work with communities to reduce smoking rates amongst particular groups.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said that while steady declines in national smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraging, rates are still too high among specific groups.

“Tobacco use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has fallen by ten per cent in the last 15 years – from 49 per cent in 2002 to about 39 per cent now. But it is still a very significant health risk factor, and significantly higher than the 14 per cent smoking rate for the broader Australian community,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Smoking rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still particularly high for pregnant women, youth, and for people living in remote communities.

“The seven organisations – awarded funding through to 30 June 2018 under the Australian Government’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking Innovation Grants – will develop new ways to reach these specific groups and change behaviours.”

Minister Wyatt said the projects will deliver intensive smoking prevention and cessation activities, and also deliver important research and evaluation outcomes.

“These projects will provide us with valuable data to help build the evidence base for future effective interventions for hard-to-reach groups,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The projects will also complement the work of the broader Tackling Indigenous Smoking program and other, anti-smoking campaigns that reach out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, such as, ‘Don’t make smokes your story’. This campaign was developed in collaboration with experts and tested with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and launched in May this year.

“They will also help achieve the goals of reducing smoking rates and the uptake of smoking, as outlined in the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.”

Further details on funded organisations for the TIS Innovation Grants

Funded OrganisationStateResearch Focus
Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia IncorporatedSAAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth living in remote communities in South Australia.
Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Queensland HealthQLDAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pregnant women aged 14 to 25 years in Queensland.
Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Aboriginal CorporationNTAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in remote or very remote communities in the Top End of the Northern Territory.
National Drugs and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South WalesNT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male inmates in Northern Territory prisons.
Western Australian Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine LimitedWAAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 15 years and above who live in remote areas of Western Australia.
South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal CorporationNSWAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenage women and pregnant smokers in New South Wales.
NT Department of Health NT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth aged 10-18 years in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

For more information, contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 4707
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