We’re working to close the health gap. Tobacco use is a major contributor to the 10-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In 2014-15, smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over was close to double that of the general population, at approximately 39%. Males were more likely than females to be daily smokers (42% compared with 37%), and people living in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to smoke on a daily basis (47% compared with 37%).
Despite a small reduction in smoking rates related to Indigenous people in recent years, the urgent need for continued focus is evident. Reducing smoking rates is an extremely effective way of improving health outcomes and closing the life expectancy gap.
The Talking about the Smokes Project (2015) found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking and quitting behaviour is similar to other populations and that mainstream tobacco control is working for this population. It also found differences in smoking and quitting behaviour. The findings support maintaining an ongoing commitment to a comprehensive approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tobacco control, rather than relying excessively on any single strategy.
Do you need help?
The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australian (AHCWA) is the peak body for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) around WA. The ACCHS are individual Aboriginal Medical Health Services that are run by local Aboriginal people and their communities to manage their own health and well-being in accordance with protocols and procedures determined by their community members.
The following Aboriginal Medial Services have highly skilled Tackling Indigenous Smoking teams that are able to provide culturally appropriate assistance to quit smoking:
- Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australian (AHCWA)
- Bega Garnbirringu Health Service
- Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service
- Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service
- Kimberley Aboriginal medical Services Council
- Mawarnkarra Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
- Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service
- Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service
- Walykumunu Nyinarratjaku (Living healthy)
- Nindilingarri Cultural Health Service
- Southern Aboriginal Corporation
- South West Aboriginal Medical Service
- Wheatbelt Aboriginal Health Service
- Wirraka Maya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
New ‘Follow the path to a healthy body’ Aboriginal specific resources that link tobacco, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes for community members and health professionals are now available. Download the following links:
ACOSH ‘Mary G’ Campaign
Radio gets into homes and communities in a way that posters and brochures never can. ACOSH commissioned ‘Mary G’ to record six radio information spots warning women of the dangers of smoking while pregnant. Both controversial and humorous, Mary G is well known across Australia through her weekly radio show and live performances. The radio spots were sent to 162 Indigenous radio stations across Australia and to all Indigenous health services with supporting information.
Listen to the radio spots:
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