QUITTING time is today if you are a smoker.
May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, so quitting right this minute means you have the whole world on your side.
And if you are an Aboriginal smoker, you also have the might of the No Smokes North Coast team on your side.
A range of tobacco control programs tailor-made for Aboriginal people, No Smokes North Coast, was launched yesterday with full fanfare.
It included an address by Dr Tom Calma, the national co-ordinator for tackling indigenous smoking; Aboriginal comedian Sean Choolburra; South Grafton’s Guja Marra Aboriginal youth dance group; No Smokes youth ambassador, swimmer Djaran Smith; live music; a poster competition and a free lunch.
No Smokes North Coast aims to encourage young Aboriginal people not to start smoking; support Aboriginal smokers to give up and keep off the smokes; reduce the exposure of babies and children to parental smoking; raise awareness of the disease risks of the addiction and support a smoke-free culture in Aboriginal communities.
It is a joint project of the University of NSW Rural Clinical School and the Mid North Coast Division of General Practice.
Dr Calma, who is an Aboriginal elder from south-west of Darwin, told the audience that smoking affected one of every two Aboriginal people in Australia and 60% of Aboriginal people on the North Coast.
This region, which includes the Coffs Coast, has the highest prevalence of Aboriginal smokers in NSW.