Tobacco smoking is a leading preventable cause of morbidity and premature death in NSW. NSW smoking rates are gradually declining and NSW Health is committed to further reducing tobacco-related harm.
A comprehensive strategy for tobacco control in NSW
The NSW Tobacco Strategy 2012 - 2017 outlines a comprehensive set of policies, programs and regulatory initiatives to achieve the ambitious tobacco control targets in the Government’s NSW 2021 Plan. These targets are:
- reduce smoking rates by 3 per cent by 2015 for non-Aboriginal people and by 4 per cent for Aboriginal people
- reduce the rate of smoking by non-Aboriginal pregnant women by 0.5 per cent per year and by 2 per cent per year for pregnant Aboriginal women.
Focus areas of the Strategy broadly include:
- addressing smoking in populations with high smoking rates, particularly Aboriginal communities, women smoking in pregnancy, mental health consumers and people in correctional facilities
- enhancing programs to help smokers quit
- taking measures to protect people from harmful second-hand smoke in outdoor areas.
Strategy implementation to date includes:
- Introducing smoking bans in certain public outdoor places through the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000
- Increasing community awareness of the smoking bans in outdoor areas.
- Streamlining and enhancing the processes for enforcement, compliance monitoring and reporting of outdoor smoking ban breaches.
- Revising 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.
- Implementing programs targeting 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 (AH&MRC) Tobacco Resistance and Control (A-TRAC) programwas implemented to build tobacco control capacity of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the staff employed within these services.
- Developing the ATRAC Framework - a strategic framework for Aboriginal tobacco resistance and control in NSW.
- Offering population-based tobacco control services. For example, the NSW Quitline is a confidential telephone information and advice service to help smokers quit, including call back and referral facilities.
- The Tobacco Information Line (1800 357 412) provides a telephone service for anyone who has queries about tobacco control.
- Reviewing the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008 and continuing a strong compliance monitoring and enforcement program in relation to tobacco retailing.
- Working closely with the Commonwealth, State, local government and non-government stakeholders.
The NSW Tobacco Strategy 2018 Snapshot gives a status update of key program elements in place to reduce the harm associated with tobacco.