Butt out: Graduates of the SmokeCheck training workshop held recently in Coffs Harbour.
Butt out: Graduates of the SmokeCheck training workshop held recently in Coffs Harbour.

Program aims to cut smoking rate

A NEW initiative is aiming to cut the smoking rate among Aboriginal people living on the Coffs Coast.

Nationally, the smoking rate of indigenous Australians is double that of non-Aboriginal people.

In NSW, 43.2 per cent of Aboriginal adults are smokers, compared to 18.4 per cent of the general population.

As part of the NSW Government commitment to reducing the prevalence of smoking in the NSW community, the NSW Department of Health has developed an Aboriginal tobacco prevention project called SmokeCheck. “The SmokeCheck program aims to train all NSW Aboriginal health workers and other health professionals who provide care for Aboriginal people to encourage their clients who smoke to quit,” said project co-ordinator Luciana Massi.

“The SmokeCheck training program has been developed specifically for Aboriginal people.”

The provision of smoking cessation training in NSW also aligns with the Australian Government in tackling tobacco smoking among Aboriginal communities.

“Smoking is contributing to the high mortality rates and is a major contributor to serious illness such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes” Ms Massi said.

Reducing the high rates of tobacco smoking among the Aboriginal population will help to close the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The NSW SmokeCheck Project is based at the University of Sydney and funded jointly by the NSW Department of Health and the Cancer Institute NSW.



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