Archived: Building a long-term framework for Aboriginal tobacco control

A new Prevention Centre project is developing a comprehensive national framework to guide action on reducing tobacco use among Aboriginal people.

Led by Professor Sandra Eades from Baker IDI, the project will draw on existing evidence and look at current programs to assess best practice and opportunities for improvement.

Profesor Sandra Eades
Profesor Sandra Eades

Professor Eades said that while there had been some improvement over recent years, tobacco use among Aboriginal people remained much higher than in the non-Aboriginal population.

She said there had been almost a decade of concerted activity to reduce smoking among Aboriginal people, but it needed a long-term comprehensive approach. “There are pockets of activity and they target different aspects of trying to reduce smoking in Aboriginal communities, but we think we need a framework for comprehensive, systematic approach over decades,” she said.

“We all realise that helping to reduce smoking rates in Aboriginal communities is one of the biggest things we can do to close the gap.”

The project has four key parts. It will:

  • Modify the US Centers for Disease Control evidence-based guide on tobacco control to help Australian States establish comprehensive tobacco control programs for Aboriginal people.
  • Review evidence about what works to reduce tobacco consumption in Aboriginal people with a focus on effective settings and subgroups.
  • Audit current tobacco-reduction programs targeting Aboriginal Australians in 2-4 States and compare existing programs with potentially effective settings and subgroups and evidence of benefit. The project will look at how these programs are working in practice, assessing the extent to which best practice is delivered and opportunities to improve program delivery.
  • Explore the causes of smoking uptake and develop interventions focused on reducing smoking uptake among Aboriginal adolescents. This will address a key driver of Aboriginal smoking rates and an important gap in current knowledge and practice.

Systematic approach

Professor Eades said the project would provide policy makers with a framework for a systematic approach to reducing tobacco use among Aboriginal people.

She said it should help service providers, Aboriginal communities and policy makers to understand how their 3-5-year programs in Aboriginal tobacco control fit into a longer-term strategy.

“It’s about providing a long-term framework for action so that everyone can see where there programs fit and where the gaps are – drawing on Australian and international evidence,” she said. “The project will also reveal areas that have had less attention so we don’t get tunnel vision about any one aspect of reducing smoking in Aboriginal communities.”

READ MORE about the project.

By Marge Overs, Communications Manager, The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre