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Funding boost for Tackling Indigenous Smoking teams will save lives

Posted 20 Feb, 2018

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Quit Victoria have joined together to commend the Federal Government and The Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, on the early announcement of extending the successful Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program for another four years.

“At VACCHO we take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing for Aboriginal people, and reducing smoking rates is a key part of improving the health of our people,” VACCHO CEO Ian Hamm said.

“With a renewed focus on Closing the Gap on health and wellbeing outcomes for our people, it’s critical that funding is continued consistently across programs that have proven results, such as the TIS program.

“We welcome the renewed funding and look forward to continuing our work in smoking reduction to ensure our people live longer, healthier, happier lives,” said Mr Hamm.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking program has been running since 2010 and over this time there has been significant progress in reducing smoking rates in Aboriginal communities – particularly in younger people.

“We’re starting to break the chain of smoking for younger people. The number of high school students taking it up has nearly halved and the smoking rate for 18-24 year olds has dropped from 58 percent to 41 percent, but these rates are still much higher than those in the non-Aboriginal population. It would be a tragedy for our people to lose momentum now,” said Jethro Calma-Holt, Aboriginal Tobacco Control Program Coordinator at Quit Victoria.

“This extension of funding will provide certainty to the TIS workforce and community after many years of doubt over contracts and the survival of successful programs,” said Mr Calma-Holt.

The new funding agreement will see enhancements to the Aboriginal Quitline, a continuation of the successful Regional Tobacco Control grants scheme including school and community education, smoke-free homes and workplaces and quit groups as well as an expansion of programs targeting pregnant women and remote area smokers.

“In the past year, the Aboriginal Quitline in Victoria has seen a 32% increase in calls, this shows there’s a real willingness out there in the community to quit, this funding will go a long way to saving lives,” said Mr Calma-Holt. 

Call 13 78 48 to speak to an Aboriginal Quit specialist for free personalised advice to help you kick the habit for good. Or request a Quitline callback. 

Quit Victoria is a partnership between VicHealth, Cancer Council Victoria and the State Government of Victoria and the Heart Foundation. 

Media release

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