31 May 2017

Smokers in Aboriginal and multicultural communities will benefit from close to $1 million in NSW Government-funded programs to help them kick the habit.

Marking World No Tobacco Day, Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced funding of the Tobacco Control Grants, which will be administered by Cancer Institute NSW.

“While we have seen a downward trend in smoking rates over the years, sadly the quit now message is not getting through to some communities,” Mr Hazzard said.

“These grants will support health and community organisations to deliver programs specifically for Aboriginal and multicultural communities where smoking is prevalent.”

NSW Health figures reveal Aboriginal adults are almost three times more likely to smoke than non-Aboriginal adults and almost twice as likely to die from lung cancer.

Similarly, health figures show one in three (34.4%) Lebanese-born adults living in NSW, and one in five (20.3%) Chinese-born males in NSW identify as smokers.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute, Professor David Currow, said community-based programs are central to changing smoker habits.

“Often smokers are influenced by family to smoke but the health and well-being of family is also a key driver of people’s attempts to quit,” Professor Currow said.

“We need tobacco control programs with social and cultural relevance alongside wider policy initiatives to counter the normalisation of smoking in these communities.”

Among the Tobacco Control Grants is a $150,000 ‘I Say Quit’ campaign in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, where Aboriginal community health organisations are working to reduce smoking rates amongst pregnant mothers.

Smoking increases the risk of serious health complaints including coronary heart disease, cancer, asthma, impotence and suffering a miscarriage.

For information on quitting smoking, call NSW Aboriginal Quitline (13 7848) or NSW Quitline on (13 QUIT) or visit iCanQuit.