​​​​The smoking rate for Aboriginal adults in NSW is still considerably high. HealthStats NSW shows that in 2021, the daily smoking rate among Aboriginal people is 23.1 per cent, compared to 7.7 per cent for non-Aboriginal people

Reducing smoking rates among Aboriginal people is a priority for NSW Health.

Why are Aboriginal smoking rates so high?

The reasons for the high smoking rates among Aboriginal people are complex. They include:

  • being exposed to smoking early in life and living in a community where smoking is ‘the social norm’
  • social disadvantage such as living in poverty, leaving school early and unemployment
  • smoking to cope with life stressors such as housing stress, mental illness, alcohol and other drug use, grief and loss
  • taking up smoking at an early age
  • a culture of sharing, often involving tobacco products
  • Addiction. Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in tobacco and is a powerful drug that makes people who smoke addicted.

These factors can also discourage people who smoke from attempting to quit and may make it harder to quit successfully.

Getting support to quit smoking

A key priority for NSW Health to tackling smoking among Aboriginal people is to work with Aboriginal communities to deliver culturally appropriate, comprehensive interventions that are effective in reducing Aboriginal smoking rates, including pregnant Aboriginal women.

Quitting can be hard. Nicotine is the substance in tobacco that creates a physical addiction to smoking. The good news is that you can beat the addiction if you get support.

NSW Aboriginal Quitline 13 7848

The NSW Aboriginal Quitline provides an individually tailored and culturally sensitive service to Aboriginal callers. This includes:

  • Aboriginal advisors to provide tailored advice to Aboriginal callers and an Aboriginal coordinator who is available to talk to community groups about the service
  • Aboriginal specific educational and promotional materials
  • Cultural awareness training or a flexible service that is adaptive to the needs of Aboriginal callers, such as extended call times and further scheduled calls when requested.

Smoking and vaping resources for Aboriginal young people

​Visit 'Smoking and vaping resources for Aboriginal young people' for a range of resources available for Aboriginal young people to support them to quit smoking or to quit vaping.​

Aboriginal smoking cessation booklets

NSW Health has three booklets to support Aboriginal people who are at different stages of quitting. Order these booklets for free using the Aboriginal smoking cessation booklet order form.

Aboriginal smoking thinking about giving up Aboriginal smoking decided to give upAboriginal non smokers keep up the good work

Smoking and pregnancy

Visit Quit for new life for more information on smoking and quitting for Aboriginal pregnant women and their families.

ATRAC Framework

Visit ATRAC Framework: A Strategic Framework for Aboriginal Tobacco Resistance and Control for more information about relevant evidence and key principles to encourage best practice approaches to address smoking in Aboriginal communities across NSW.

Tackling Indigenous Smoking

Visit National Tackling Indigenous Smoking program for a range of resources and information to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by reducing the prevalence of tobacco use.

Current as at: Thursday 22 February 2024
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health