Tobacco smoking is the greatest single cause of premature death and is a leading preventable cause of morbidity in New South Wales. It is pleasing to see that preventive efforts have been effective and that NSW smoking rates are gradually declining. NSW Health is committed to further reducing tobacco-related harm.
The Strategy outlines a comprehensive set of policies, programs and regulatory initiatives to achieve ambitious tobacco control targets in the Government’s NSW 2021 Plan. These targets are:
- Reduce smoking rates by 3% by 2015 for non-Aboriginal people and by 4% for Aboriginal people; and
- Reduce the rate of smoking by non-Aboriginal pregnant women by 0.5% per year and by 2% per year for pregnant Aboriginal women.
Focus areas of the Strategy broadly include:
- Targeting populations with high smoking rates such as Aboriginal communities, low socioeconomic groups and some culturally and linguistically diverse groups
- Enhanced programs to help smokers quit
- Measures to protect people from harmful second-hand smoke in outdoor areas.
Progress on Strategy implementation includes:
- Introduction of major amendments to the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 requiring smoking bans in certain public outdoor places.
- Public notice campaigns to increase community awareness of the smoking bans in outdoor areas.
- Processes for enforcement, compliance monitoring and reporting of outdoor smoking ban breaches have been increased and streamlined.
- Revision of the NSW Health Smoke-free Health Care Policy which means that all NSW Health buildings, grounds and vehicles are smoke-free with the exception of designated outdoor smoking areas determined by the Local Health District or specialty network governed statutory health corporation that chooses to provide such areas using a smoke-free by-law.
- Programs targeting disadvantaged populations with high smoking rates. For example, the Quit for New Life program supports smoking cessation for pregnant Aboriginal women. The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council’s (AH&MRC) Tobacco Resistance and Control (A-TRAC) program aims to build tobacco control capacity of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the staff employed within these services.
- Population-based tobacco control services. For example, the NSW Quitline is a confidential telephone information and advice service to help smokers quit, including extensive call back and referral facilities. The Tobacco Information Line (1800 357 412) provides a telephone service for anyone who has queries about tobacco control.
- Working closely with Commonwealth, State, Local Government and non-government stakeholders.