31 May 2013
Today, on ‘World No Tobacco Day’ Cancer Council SA is calling for further, targeted action to address disproportionately high smoking rates in Indigenous and disadvantaged communities, who are not heeding the warnings.
World No Tobacco Day will be marked across the globe today with celebrations of success in the fight against tobacco use and calls for further action to limit the reach of harmful tobacco products. Cancer Council SA is today highlighting the disparity in smoking rates between different communities and calling for further targeted action to address the problem.
General Manager of Cancer Control at Cancer Council SA, Dr Marion Eckert, says that we must find new ways of reaching people and cultures that have not been impacted by the mainstream efforts to reduce tobacco use.
“Despite the fact that smoking rates across the South Australian population have been driven down to 17%, we still see much higher rates among some groups, such as Indigenous people who have a smoking rate of 47.6% here in SA,” says Dr Eckert.
“Clearly what is working to reduce smoking rates for the broader community isn’t working for some cultural and disadvantaged groups – the message just isn’t getting through, or isn’t translating into people taking action to quit.
“With tobacco being responsible for 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in Australia, we urgently need to get the message through about the dangers of smoking.
“This World No Tobacco Day, we are calling on all levels of government to make a greater effort to address the disparity, by providing tailored programs to those communities which have been left behind in the move away from tobacco dependence and to invest in providing education on the prevalence of smoking in disadvantaged communities.
“Tobacco products will kill one in two long term users, and now that we understand the devastating impact smoking has, we have a responsibility to broaden the reach of that message, to ensure it is heard and understood by every South Australian,” Dr Eckert concluded.
Kaurna elder and Co-ordinator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Prevention Team at Cancer Council SA, David Copley is running a pilot program of smoking cessation targeted specifically at Aboriginal people.
“We are training people in tobacco cessation, but in a way which will resonate with Indigenous communities. There is no point doing things the way we always have if it simply isn’t working in the communities. We need to reach Aboriginal people on their own terms and in ways they feel most comfortable,” Mr Copley said.
Anyone considering quitting is encouraged to call the Quitline on 13 78 48.
The Indigenous Quitskills program run by Cancer Council SA is funded by the Commonwealth Government.