Posted 16 Mar, 2022
As National Close the Gap Day approaches, Quit Victoria is encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wanting to quit smoking or thinking about quitting, to call the Aboriginal Quitline (13 7848).
The highly trained and passionate Aboriginal counsellors can provide callers with a plan for quitting that is tailored to their individual needs, with information on different quitting methods and products and other resources. Aunty Hazel, Wotjobaluk Elder from Dimboola Victoria has been smokefree for just over 12 months.
“As an Elder, I’m passionate about seeing our community healthy and thriving. I stopped smoking in early 2021 when I was admitted to hospital for a quadruple bypass. I wasn’t expecting the smoke I had a few days earlier to be my last, but now 12 months on, I am still smoke free and don’t even crave a cigarette. I can breathe better, and I find it easier to walk without getting out of breath. I have the money once spent on smokes, which I can now spend on my craft items or save for something special.”
Her story can be read here.
Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White said that stories like Aunty Hazel’s were “incredibly important” for encouraging other Aboriginal community members to have a go at quitting.
“Smoking is a significant contributor to the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia,” she said. “But there is real progress being made, and we’re so fortunate to have Elders, like Aunty Hazel, generously sharing their stories and the benefits of quitting.”
“Smoking rates in Aboriginal communities are decreasing at a good pace, with partnerships between Tackling Indigenous Smoking teams, the Aboriginal Quitline team and staff at Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations empowering and supporting community members to stop smoking.”