New paper finds positive impact of Tackling Indigenous Smoking program

A paper released this month by researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) has highlighted the positive impact that the Tackling Indigenous Smoking (TIS) program is having on tobacco-related behaviours and attitudes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The study found that areas of Australia where the TIS program is present, compared to non-TIS areas, have a significantly lower prevalence of:

  • smoking inside households
  • smoking 21 or more cigarettes a day
  • smoking a cigarette within five minutes of waking (an indicator of nicotine dependence).

The research included 8,549 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adults aged 16 years or older.

Among people who currently smoked, it was more common in TIS areas compared to non-TIS areas to believe that smoking would make them sick in the future. This indicates a higher awareness of the harms of smoking.

Living in a TIS-funded area was associated with a 15% lower prevalence of smoking inside the home compared to non-TIS areas.

For people who currently smoked, living in a TIS-funded area compared to a non-TIS-funded area was associated with a 21% lower prevalence of smoking 21 or more cigarettes a day. Previous research has found that the more cigarettes people smoke, the more their risk of early death increases. So, the lower number of cigarettes smoked per day within TIS-funded areas is likely to reduce risk of dying early for these participants.

This research was conducted as part of the Mayi Kuwayu study. Mayi Kuwayu is the largest prospective cohort study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and is designed and led by Aboriginal researchers and staff at ANU. The study is looking at what culture means to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and aims to create an understanding of how culture affects wellbeing, including health outcomes.

You can read the paper here.