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Tackling Indigenous Smoking

Tackling Indigenous smoking (TIS) rates is part of Quit's long-term commitment to Aboriginal programs.

What are TIS activities

Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) activities take a population health approach which aims to inform and support people in their decisions not to smoke or vape or to quit smoking or vaping. These activities will:

  • Encourage community engagement in and support for local TIS activities

  • Increase community understanding of the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco and the links between tobacco and chronic disease, as well as the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping

  • Increase awareness of the pathways to quitting among workers and community leaders

  • Promote the benefits of never becoming a smoker

  • Seek to reduce exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke

  • Improve access to targeted support to quit through clinical and non-clinical services

  • Encourage and facilitate use of Aboriginal Quitline.

TIS-funded organisations are part of an overall preventive health system. Access to clinical best practices (behavioural and pharmacological) will help people who smoke increase their likelihood of quitting successfully.

A TIS-funded organisation that has clinical services might offer some of these activities itself. Developing referral pathways to the services available locally, whether your own or another service, is a central part of TIS work. Such services include:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

  • Aboriginal Quitline support

  • Smoking and vaping cessation counselling

  • Developing skills and training opportunities for their staff and other organisations to be able to deliver brief intervention.

TIS-funded organisations develop and implement smokefree policies within their own organisation and can support other organisations to implement their own smokefree policies.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking - Melbourne

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) provides a range of medical, dental and social services for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Melbourne. As well as providing a variety of medical services, VAHS is committed to supporting the well being of the community through contributions to community events and activities.

The VAHS Tackling Tobacco Team is a part of the larger Healthy Lifestyle Team, and works with a focus on smoking cessation throughout the community, covering 15 areas within the inner, north and western regions. TIS team activities include:

  • Client support and education

  • Health promotion and smoking cessation education at community events

  • Presentations to young people and other organisations

  • Referrals to Aboriginal Quitline.

The team partners with the Aboriginal Quitline wherever possible and makes good use of social media (including Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram), an SMS service, emails, phone calls and presentations in the community to promote healthy lifestyles.

As part of their TIS activities, VAHS runs the Coach Program, a weekly health and well being program for Aboriginal children in Melbourne's northern suburbs. Coaches from VAHS work in partnership with Yappera Children's Services and Bubup Wilam for Early Learning to deliver 30-minute program sessions. Each Coach lesson has a theme that aims to promote the No Smokes message, physical activity, drinking water, oral health, team work, the Sun Smart message, and knowledge of nutrition in a culturally safe space. The program enables coaches to build mentoring relationships with participants that extend beyond the childcare setting. In addition, VAHS runs the Six Week Challenge program, a healthy lifestyle program with a focus on tobacco reduction. A case study of the Six Week Challenge was conducted by CIRCA as part of the preliminary TIS evaluation, and is available here.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking - Dandenong

Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-operative Limited (DDACL) is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation providing services to meet the needs of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the Southern Metropolitan Melbourne area of Victoria.

The DDACL Tackling Indigenous Smoking program provides smoking prevention and care throughout the DDACL catchment area, which includes:

  1. Bayside

  2. Cardinia

  3. Casey

  4. Frankston

  5. Greater Dandenong

  6. Kingston, Knox

  7. Monash

  8. Mornington.

The TIS program includes a number of activities including a weekly yarning group to encourage and support community members to quit smoking or continue their ex-smoking status. The group is open to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, including partners of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The team also have a strong social media presence through their Kick the Butt anti-smoking campaign. Kick the Butt is aimed at raising awareness in Aboriginal young people that smoking tobacco is not part of culture, and giving tools to those who want to quit. 

Suggested Resources

Aboriginal Quitline

Aboriginal Quitline counsellors offer non-judgemental and empowering support to Aboriginal people who want to quit smoking. We're here to support our mob to live smokefree.

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Aboriginal Quitline - FAQs

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Aboriginal Quitline Podcasts

Aboriginal Quitline is proud to present our podcast series, 'Quit Stories'. These podcasts are stories from Community Members who have gone through the process of quitting and come out the other side to tell their story - to inspire and empower our Mob to do the same.

Find out more

Aunty Hazel's story

My name is Aunty Hazel and I’m from Dimboola Victoria. My mob is Wotjobaluk and I am an elder. I had never intended to give up smoking but on the 11th February 2021, that all changed.

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Naomi's story

When life was stressful, Naomi looked to cigarettes for support. Through ups and downs, smoking was a solid constant. Quitting helped to remind Naomi of her own strength. Find out how that confidence led to a healthier life for her and her daughter.

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