16 October, 2020

Health tackles Indigenous smoking

Tobacco smoking is the most preventable cause of ill health and early death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is responsible for 23 per cent of the gap in health burden between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

The Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program aims to improve life expectancy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by reducing tobacco use.

Professor Tom Calma, National Coordinator, leads the TIS program which has been running since 2010.  Under the program local organisations design and run activities that focus on reducing smoking rates, and supports people to never start smoking. Activities are:

evidence-based — so they are effective, and
measurable — so we can tell that they work.

“TIS is as an opportunity for Indigenous people to be a part of shaping positive health outcomes within their communities, particularly in rural and remote communities. The program gives Indigenous health organisations a chance to be involved in how these programs are created and shared,” Tom says. Watch the video featuring to find out more about TIS.

The program is focused on regional and remote areas of Australia. Funding supports culturally significant programs including Quitskills – a program providing culturally appropriate training for health workers in remote areas. It also assists Indigenous organisations working with pregnant mothers in remote and very remote areas.

Funding is used to support marketing and education campaigns to promote smoke-free community spaces using evidence based research. Forty Aboriginal Community led services provide necessary financial support in communities with some of the highest smoking rates in Australia.


If you have a background in public health and professional experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and are interested in this program, TIS currently have a challenging opportunity for a health professional in the team.

If you would like to learn more, visit Tackling Indigenous Smoking.

Tackling Indigenous smoking with Prof Tom Calma | © Australian Government Department of Health

For further information about this role or the program contact the TIS Team.