Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme

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Tobacco smoking is the most important documented risk factor for chronic illness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The rate of smoking of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15+ in non-remote Australian communities was 39% in 2012, down from 47% in 2002[1]. However in south eastern Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, where approximately half of the population aged 15+ currently has their smoking status tracked, it is estimated that the smoking prevalence is between 46% and 59%. It is also estimated that 12% of Aboriginal youth aged 10-14 years old whose smoking status is known currently smoke.

Since 2010 the Australian Government has been funding the Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyles initiative. The Australian Government decided to separately fund a dedicated Aboriginal smoking prevention and care programme and invited all services who previously received Tackling Smoking and Healthy Lifestyles funding to re-apply for funding through a initiative called the Tackling Indigenous Smoking Programme. This program began in January 2016.

The Dandenong District Aborigines Cooperative Ltd (DDACL) was invited to apply.  The funding offers an opportunity not only to sustain their healthy lifestyles and smoking care team but also to review its approach and ensure it is aligned with other organisations’ smoking care efforts and regional strategies such as those under Koolin Balit. DDACL contracted Larter Consulting to consult with partners and coordinate the funding application. DDACL and Larter invested significant time in reviewing DDACL’s program and identifying the evidence base for smoking prevention and care for Aboriginal communities.

The following activities were eligible for funding through the initiative:

  • Development and delivery of locally relevant anti-smoking, health education, and social marketing strategies, campaigns and events
  • Providing information and resources about smoking cessation and delivering brief interventions
  • Developing and delivering locally relevant quit support groups
  • Advocating and providing support to other organisations to develop and implement smoke-free workplace policies and smoke-free community areas
  • Developing and promoting role models and recognising champions/advocates
  • Facilitating access and referral to health services
  • Facilitating access and referral to Quitline services
  • Facilitating access to, and pathways through, clinical and non-clinical services for behavioural and pharmacological therapies, including counselling and nicotine replacement therapy
  • Addressing cultural norms about smoking and building pathways to quitting
  • Building partnerships with local services and government organisations to build regional tobacco control networks

The following activities were not funded:

  • capital works
  • retrospective items/activities
  • activities undertaken by political organisations
  • activities that subsidise commercial activities
  • clinical trials or purchase of pharmaceuticals
  • projects and activities that duplicate existing resources or initiatives

Key principles of the funding

  • Prevent Aboriginal people starting smoking
  • Assist Aboriginal people already smoking to reduce or quit smoking
  • Tobacco action is the primary focus. Nutrition and/or physical activity would not be funded through this programme unless they specifically contribute to the tobacco outcomes being sought
  • Need to focus on a defined geographical area and to have a focus on all Aboriginal people in that area, irrespective of what health provider/s they use
  • Outcomes-based, both short term (e.g. referrals to Quitline) and long term (e.g. decrease in proportion of smokers)
  • Evidence-based – a final work plan will be negotiated with a new National Best Practice Unit, established in Canberra
  • Partnership building – between services, between governments, between researchers and program managers
  • Modelling the message (smoke-free workplaces, homes, events; and role models)
  • Monitoring and measuring

About Larter

Larter is an Australian-owned consulting firm providing high quality consulting services to the health and community services sector. Read more about our team and how we work towards a stronger primary health system.

[1] http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129550168