2nd June, 2015

Anti smoking programs welcomed on World NO Tobacco Day

Alcohol and other drugs

“Talking About The Smokes (TATS) is a model for how to do a large national epidemiological project in partnership with Aboriginal communities, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Aboriginal community-controlled health service (ACCHS) sector.

Research has not always been done well in or in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which can make undertaking research with the sector challenging.The TATS project, however, has always felt like a full and respectful partnership between the ACCHS sector and research organisations, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.”
Lisa Briggs NACCHO CEOtats

Download Report NACCHO Talking About The Smokes Report MJA

The peak Aboriginal health organisation welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to continue investing in programs that reduce smoking in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chair, Matthew Cooke, said it was good news the Government had committed to fund tackling smoking programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

However, Mr Cooke said he was concerned there was no indication in the announcement of how much funding would be provided – after the Government last year cut funding for existing programs by a third – or $130 million over five years.

“Smoking is responsible for one in every five deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people,” Mr Cooke said.

“Smoking rates among Aboriginal people are two and a half times that of non-Indigenous Australians – 43% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are daily smokers. In some communities that estimate is as high as 83%.

“However, a report released today shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers are just as likely as other Australian smokers to want to quit and have recently tried to quit, but are less likely to make sustained attempts to quit.

“The report suggests that there are approaches that will work and that do work.

“If the Government is serious about meeting Closing the Gap targets to halve Indigenous smoking rates by 2018 we need more funding, not less – and we need to see programs that are targeted, benchmarked and tailored for Aboriginal people, run by Aboriginal people.”

Mr Cooke said health programs making the biggest gains in Closing the Gap in Indigenous health and reducing smoking rates were developed and are run by Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

Mr Cooke welcomed the focus on performance monitoring and evaluation in the new funding round.

“Previously, the Department of Health lacked internally appropriate mechanisms to measure the success of the Tackling Tobacco Programme,” he said.

“I’m pleased the redesigned program will focus on accountability and local knowledge, allowing service provides to make decisions on how they tackle smoking in their region.”

The study, Talking About the Smokes, led by a national partnership that includes NACCHO,interviewed 522 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members in 35 locations, as well as 645 staff of local Aboriginal community controlled health services.

INTRODUCTION FROM NACCHO CEO LISA BRIGGS

photolbTalking About The Smokes (TATS) is a model for how to do a large national epidemiological project in partnership with Aboriginal communities, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Aboriginal community-controlled health service (ACCHS) sector.

Research has not always been done well in or in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which can make undertaking research with the sector challenging.

The TATS project, however, has always felt like a full and respectful partnership between the ACCHS sector and research organisations, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. We have appreciated our involvement in all elements of the project, the clarity of the formal agreements, and the funding and support of project staff employed at NACCHO and in our member ACCHSs. Our concerns and priorities were always addressed.

The ACCHS sector recognises how important undertaking research is to reduce smoking in our communities. Because TATS has been done ethically, we can have confidence in using the evidence from this project to improve our policies and programs to reduce the damage that smoking does to our people and communities.

Lisa Briggs
Chief Executive Officer
National Aboriginal Community
Controlled Health Organisation

The findings are available at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/202/10/supplement

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