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Quit welcomes PM’s commitment to cut Indigenous smoking rates

Thursday 20 March, 2008

Quit has welcomed today's Federal Government announcement of $14.5 million to tackle high rates of smoking in Indigenous communities, as a critical step in closing the gap in life expectancy.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said the Rudd's Government initiative comes at an important time with smoking rates of Indigenous people over 18 years of age more than double those of the non-Indigenous population.

"Tobacco use is the preventable health risk responsible for the greatest burden of disease in the Indigenous community, and is a key factor in the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people."

"With half of Indigenous people current smokers, and rates of smoking as high as 80 per cent in some communities, the Rudd Government should be applauded for making the reduction of Indigenous smoking rates a public health priority."

Ms Sharkie supports the focus of the 4-year plan around research, community-based interventions and importantly the provision of smoking cessation training for staff working in Indigenous health.

"Conducting health worker training and supporting Indigenous health workers in their efforts to promote smoking cessation, is a fundament component of lowering smoking rates in the Indigenous populations."

"Quit works with Indigenous organisations to increase the focus on tobacco issues within the community, and currently has twelve Indigenous quit smoking educators active in the community who are available to provide quitting advice one-on-one or to broader groups.

"Quit provides smoking cessation training for staff working in Indigenous health, assisting workers and increasing their confidence to give practical advice on effects of tobacco use, the benefits of quitting, quitting strategies and the importance of protecting children from second-hand smoke," said Ms Sharkie.

 

ends

Edwina Pearse,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email:
Edwina.Pearse@cancervic.org.au

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