About the program

TIS is a long term Australian Government program that helps reduce smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The program consists of:

  • regional tobacco control grants (RTCGs) — about 80% of the total funding
  • a National Best Practice Unit (NBPU) that supports funded organisations
  • improvements to Quitline so it provides accessible and culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • the Quitskills training program for frontline community and health workers
  • a National Coordinator — currently Professor Tom Calma AO — who provides high-level advice on policies and also supports funded organisations
  • activities that support priority groups such as pregnant women and smokers in remote areas
  • regular evaluations to make sure best practices are being followed and activities are evidence-based and effective
  • research to assess the impacts and outcomes of grants.

Why it is important

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a shorter life expectancy compared to non-Indigenous Australians. The TIS program aims to improve that life expectancy by reducing tobacco use.

Tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of ill health and early death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is responsible for 23% of the gap in health burden (the total impact of disease, injury and death to Australians) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.


The primary goal of TIS is to reduce smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Local organisations design and run activities that focus on increasing:

  • the number of people who quit smoking
  • the number of people who never start smoking.

Meeting our goals

We make sure that funded activities are:

  • evidence-based — so they are effective
  • measurable — so we can tell that they work.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking Resource and Information Centre (TISRIC) is an online resource developed by the NBPU, to support organisations to implement evidence based and best practice approaches.

Activities are funded to achieve the following:

  • Improve community involvement and support for reducing smoking.
  • Improve understanding in communities of the dangers of tobacco and how it affects their health.
  • Helping health professionals and workers better understand how smoking impacts health and how to support people to quit smoking.
  • Show young people the benefits of never becoming a smoker.
  • Reduce smoking in cars, homes, workplaces and community areas.
  • Reduce the amount of passive smoking.
  • Improve access to support services.
  • Help smokers to quit and stay smoke-free.
  • Help non-smokers never become smokers.
  • Share best practices within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through better monitoring and evaluation of activities.
  • Find out what works best to reduce tobacco use within these communities.

Who we work with

We fund a range of organisations to implement the TIS program, including:

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations
  • organisations with experience in community development and capability development to support RTCG recipients
  • evaluation experts to measure outcomes from TIS program funding
  • culturally appropriate support through Quitline services around Australia
  • academic researchers and a non-government organisation to train health workers to support those wanting to quit smoking.


The TIS program is funded until 30 June 2022.


Tackling Indigenous Smoking program – Final evaluation report – July 2018

This report, completed in July 2018, evaluates how effective the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program has been and whether it’s on target to achieve its long-term goals.


Tackling Indigenous Smoking contact

Contact our Preventive Health section for enquiries about the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program or visit the website for more information.

indigenoustobacco [at] health.gov.au

View contact

Last updated: 
15 March 2022