The Morrison Government will invest a further $187.8 million in the highly successful Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program which is designed to reduce smoking in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said that tobacco smoking is one of the biggest reasons for the health and mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
“Smoking is a factor in 37 percent of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths. Reducing smoking rates is a simple and effective way to save and protect lives,” Minister Hunt said.
“The Tackling Indigenous Smoking program has been an important part of helping us achieve better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders. The program has helped reduce the percentage of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over who were daily smokers from 50 percent in 2004-05 to 37 percent in 2018-19.
“Extending the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program is an important contribution to the Morrison Government’s efforts to Closing the Gap. It will save lives, protect lives and improve lives.”
“I thank the TIS National Coordinator, Professor Tom Calma AO, for his continuing dedication to the program.”
TIS teams work on the ground with communities, enabling community guidance and ownership of TIS to ensure that TIS activities embody cultural values and appropriate messaging.
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said Indigenous communities continued to take strong steps to curb smoking rates.
“Since 2010, the TIS program has been providing culturally appropriate activities and messages to stop young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people taking up smoking, and help established smokers to quit,” Minister Wyatt said.
"Thanks to TIS and broader tobacco control measures, community attitudes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are changing and smoking rates are steadily falling.”
“Tackling smoking is everyone’s business. Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, mainstream health services, and state and territory government funded measures including Quitlines, all play an important role in helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to stop smoking.”
Through the National Preventive Health Strategy, the Government is committed to reducing smoking rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to 27 percent or less by 2030.
The Government’s comprehensive range of tobacco control measures, including the TIS program, will be critical in achieving this target, especially in regions where smoking rates are higher.
The key priorities of the TIS program over the next four years will be:
- achieving national coverage, through regional population health service delivery
- maintaining a focus on priority groups—remote communities, pregnant women and youth
- strengthening the focus on proven population health activities.
This builds on the Government's $781.1 million investment announced in the 2021-22 Budget to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and ageing outcomes and complements the more than $300 million the Government is investing in health infrastructure and other measures to help support the Commonwealth’s first Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.
The TIS program is funded under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Australian’s Health Programme, which provides over $1 billion annual investment for culturally appropriate initiatives to increase access to health care and improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.