Tackling Indigenous Smoking

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program aims to reduce smoking rates among First Nations Australians. Local organisations run activities designed to prevent the uptake of smoking, promote quitting, and solve emerging issues, such as the use of e-cigarettes by youth.

About the program

The TIS program is a well-established and internationally recognised population health promotion program that works with First Nations communities to reduce tobacco use.

Smoking causes 37% of all First Nations deaths, and 50% of deaths age 45 years and over. To help address this preventable cause of death and disease, the TIS program plays a key role in the collective efforts across sectors and communities to:

  • reduce the use of smoking and e-cigarettes, and prevent uptake
  • promote ‘smoke-free’ communities, homes, cars, workplaces and other shared spaces
  • improve the life expectancy of First Nations people
  • increase the number of healthy birthweights.

This health promotion program plays a critical role across governments, the health sector, and non-government organisations.

The TIS program is an Indigenous-led program offering a locally-tailored mix of tobacco control activities in communities. It aims to raise awareness about the harms of smoking, vaping and second-hand smoke. Evaluation of the TIS program has highlighted:

  • a decline in smoking among First Nations peoples
  • positive attitudes about being smoke-free, smoking less, and people wanting to quit in areas serviced by TIS teams.

We are continuing to expand the geographic coverage of the TIS program and implement the lessons we have learnt from evaluation. This will allow more First Nations people to access TIS activities.

There are three parts to the TIS program:

  • service delivery
  • national support
  • national evaluation.

Service delivery

Regional TIS teams

The TIS program has a network of regional TIS teams (Regional Tobacco Control Grants). These teams deliver a tailored mix of culturally safe and evidence-based activities within their local communities, including:

  • community education
  • youth activities and workshops
  • awareness-raising campaigns (including posters, radio announcements, bus wraps, billboards, merchandise)
  • social media
  • smoke-free events.

National projects

TIS program funding is available for national projects that will contribute to improving the reach and the impact of the program, especially among TIS priority groups like remote communities, pregnant women, and youth.

National support

National Coordinator

TIS Professor Tom Calma AO provides strong Indigenous leadership for the TIS program, including:

  • regular information sharing and guidance for regional TIS teams
  • strategic advice to Australian Government
  • strong advocacy and stakeholder engagement across sectors to emphasise 'tackling smoking as everyone's business'.

National Best Practice Unit (NBPU)

The National Best Practice Unit (NBPU) is managed by Ninti One.

The NBPU provides tailored supports for organisations funded under the TIS program, including:

  • sharing evidence-based research
  • information and resources
  • delivering TIS workforce training and development activities
  • providing guidance to TIS teams to support their planning and performance reporting responsibilities under the program.

Partners involved in delivering the NBPU include:

National evaluation

The success of the TIS program is underpinned by a strong commitment to evaluation and continuous quality improvement. Our monitoring and evaluation framework includes both process and outcome evaluations of the TIS program.

Process evaluation

The Cultural & Indigenous Research Centre Australia (CIRCA) is evaluating the program to make sure it is delivered as intended. The evaluation sits within a broader monitoring and evaluation framework that ensures good governance and promotes a culture of continuous quality improvement.

Outcome evaluation

The Australian National University (ANU) is making sure the program achieves the expected short and medium-term impacts and outcomes. The evaluation also finds and aids linkages with relevant First Nations health, tobacco control research, and national and other large data sets. For more information, including published research, please email IndigenousTobacco@health.gov.au


More information about the TIS program including publications and evaluations is available on the Tackling Smoking website.


Tackling Indigenous Smoking contact

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

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