Planning Guidance

TIS Program Activity Work Plans (AWPs) are moving to an online submission system via the Health Data Portal (HDP). However, initial review by NBPU TIS will be on a Word document template. The process for submitting the AWP for 2024/25 is as follows:

  1. Complete the AWP Word document template provided by the HDP and available to download here:
    The document providing guidance on how to complete the AWP can be downloaded here.
  2. Send the completed AWP Word document to for NBPU TIS review by the agreed date of Friday 17 May 2024.
  3. NBPU TIS will provide feedback within two weeks (by Friday 31 May 2024 for AWP Word documents received by Friday 17 May 2024).
  4. The online TIS AWP reporting round will open in the HDP on Saturday 1 June 2024. Please enter the content from your reviewed and updated AWP Word document into the online TIS AWP form in the HDP.
  5. Move this online AWP form through the submission workflow process as required so as to submit to your DSS FAM by the due date of Friday 14 June 2024.

The HDP team have offered to assist teams by entering data from the reviewed and updated AWP Word document into the online AWP form in the HDP. If you would like to take up this offer of help, please send your updated AWP Word document to

Guidance on how to complete the AWP is provided throughout the template. Please follow the guidance carefully. Your AWP is a living document, so it is important to keep it updated, using a continuous quality improvement process. The TIS Program is an outcomes focused population health promotion program which uses evidence-based tobacco control activities (best practice). Following the planning process suggested below will help you address all of the program principles in your AWP.

Having an outcomes focus

A good place to start your planning is to identify the outcomes you want to achieve in your region. The TIS Program is working towards the following shared outcomes under the three program aims:

Aim 1: Reduce uptake of smoking or recreational use of vapes

  • Percentage of activity participants who will:
    • increase their knowledge about harms of tobacco and vape use
    • increase their knowledge of the benefits of not using tobacco or vapes
    • decrease their intention to use tobacco or vapes.

Aim 2: Increase smoking or recreational vaping cessation

  • Percentage of activity participants who will:
    • increase their knowledge about the benefits of quitting
    • increase their intentions to take steps towards cessation of tobacco or vape use.

Aim 3: Reduce exposure to second hand smoke or vape aerosol:

  • Percentage of activity participants who will:
    • increase their knowledge about the benefits of creating and maintaining smoke-free spaces
    • increase their intentions to avoid second hand smoke
    • increase their intentions to create smoke-free environments (e.g. homes, workplaces, cars)
    • increase their intentions to attend smoke-free public spaces and events.

You do not need to collect data under all of these outcomes. You will need to draw on local knowledge about tobacco use in the communities you service to identify the right priorities for your communities. This will include:

  • accessing State and Territory health data
  • identifying information already held by your organisation about smoking behaviour and previous TIS activities
  • considering results of the impact evaluation provided by the Australian National University (ANU) team
  • carrying out consultation with the local community to establish priorities and shared goals.

Working with the community from the start of the program is important, because it shows respect for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge. Finding time to talk to local communities and stakeholders will also ensure the community is engaged and has ownership of any activities. Box 1 has quick tips on how to make sure the community is involved in your project.

Once you have a clear picture of what the opportunities for change are in the region you service, you will be able to identify appropriate outcomes for your AWP. Outcomes for the program have been designed to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound (SMART). This planning stage is also the time to think carefully about how you will monitor and evaluate your activities so as to have data for performance reporting and to support your own CQI processes.

Taking a Population Health Promotion Approach

TIS is a population health program and Regional Tobacco Control funding supports population level outreach activities. This approach is supported by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guidelines. TIS teams are not funded to deliver individual smoking cessation programs or activities. Teams funded under TIS are expected to refer anyone wanting individual cessation support to Aboriginal Quitline or other culturally safe cessation services. This is because TIS uses systems thinking to address tobacco control.

Tobacco use is a complex problem and people smoke for many different reasons. This also means that different things will motivate people to stop smoking. Figure 1 shows some of the activities at that can support people to stop smoking. Systems thinking reminds us that complex problems like tobacco use are like a jigsaw puzzle – you need to have all the pieces and fit them together to see the whole picture. TIS is just one piece of the preventative health system puzzle. By working in partnership with other pieces of the system, we can create more meaningful change and improve health and wellbeing for individuals, families and communities.

Using systems thinking

Systems thinking helps us focus on how society is organised, and how the different health and social care services might work together to address tobacco control in a specific context (e.g. a remote community or an urban area). The TIS program is part of a larger system which includes:

  • mainstream as well as targeted tobacco control actions at national and local levels (e.g. plain packaging, tobacco advertising bans, State and Territory laws covering smoke-free environments)
  • preventative and primary healthcare services such as smoking cessation clinics, Aboriginal Quitline, annual 715 health checks, maternity care
  • other educational and social services including schools, housing associations and wellbeing services.

One of the important challenges for TIS is to map out the local system and begin making connections. This includes developing:

  • referral pathways for people who want help to quit
  • collaboration between different programs in your organisation
  • partnerships with other organisations.

Making these connections across the system increases the capacity of the program to create change and makes it stronger. A useful starting point is to use community asset mapping to map out your system.

Community asset mapping

Working out your local system and identifying resources and possible partnerships to support your activities, is important for successful TIS activities. Asset mapping is a very flexible approach that can easily be adapted to local community needs. One advantage of asset mapping is that it is strengths-based. Asset mapping helps you to:

  • identify community strengths and resources
  • ensure your activities are relevant to community needs
  • identify effective solutions for change
  • increase community engagement.

Figure 1. Asset mapping

The three main stages of asset mapping are to:

  1. identify the strengths (assets) of relevant individuals and groups
  2. build the connections that will help these individuals and groups work together
  3. involve the community so as to construct a collective vision and plan.

Figure 1 shows one example of an asset map, displayed as a mind map. You can read more about asset mapping in this guide from the Bank of Ideas. The guide includes:

  • information on the mapping process
  • suggestions for asset mapping tools to use
  • ideas on how to display your asset map.

It is important to remember that the value of asset mapping comes from recognising and building on existing strengths and partnerships. It also provides the opportunity to identify gaps and shows you where connections need to be built.

Building connections

Partnerships are an essential part of ensuring that the system is strongly connected. Tobacco control activities have the best reach when carried out in partnership with other health teams and programs (e.g. ʻdrugs and alcoholʼ, ʻmums and bubsʼ), as well as with community organisations (e.g. housing services, schools) and individual community leaders. This creates a network of care, which connects participants wanting to quit to a service or organisation where they can then access individual cessation support. Box 2 gives more tips on networking. Depending on the results of your asset mapping, these may include partnerships with:

  • community leaders
  • community groups health service providers
  • other services (e.g housing).

You may have existing partnerships that you can build on to make the program a success, or you may have to start afresh. There are different strategies for developing committed, productive partnerships, but evidence tells us that effective partnerships are based on:

  • mutual respect
  • shared goals
  • clear roles
  • good communication.

Two resources that you might also find helpful for supporting you to develop strong partnerships for tobacco control include:

Choosing your evidence-based activities

The evidence tells us that tobacco control programs work best when they include a range of activities across the community system (a multi-component program). Different population health promotion activities within a multi-component approach for TIS include:

  • creating strong partnerships with local organisations (e.g. community groups, healthcare providers, housing associations)
  • using targeted, culturally sensitive social media campaigns and community designed educational activities to increase knowledge of the resources available to quit smoking
  • increasing access to quit support including Quitline, and access to both mainstream and AMS GP services who can prescribe nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

It is important that the activities chosen during the planning stage are evidence based, like those described under the Activities pages.

You also need to ensure you have the capacity to carry out the activities you choose. This might involve staff training either through the NBPU TIS or another organisation. Talk to your Project Officer about workforce development opportunities, and check out the Workforce Information page for up to date training and other professional development opportunities.

Finally remember that building capacity is not just about numbers of staff in your team, or the skills that they have . It is also about finding ways to achieve outcomes through partnerships and collaboration. This might include:

  • engaging community volunteers to help with activities
  • including respected community leaders as local role models in your activities
  • seeking commitment from leaders across your organisation to support a smoke-free workplace and smoke-free events

For more resources to support your activity planning see also Planning Tools in the Resources section.

Box 1: Tips on involving the community in your project

Hot tip: Walk, walk, walk…

Think about ways to include people in your tobacco control project or program:


  • involve people in all stages of planning and delivery of the project or program
  • talk and walk through how information will be shared, owned and fed back to the community, and how decisions will be made.


  • make sure that the information or research gathered on the project or program will benefit the community.


  • make sure the community is well represented by including a wide cross-section of people of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds
  • make sure there are representatives from community organisations.

Box 2: Networking tips

Hot tip: Network all sorts of people…

All organisations have networks. Often you can get the support of another organization to give you access to their network. This isnʼt exactly a partnership – itʼs more of a helping hand to put you in touch with a group of people you would not normally be able to access, but who are on your side.

Having access to other networks can really help put together a project to potential participants. The important thing is to respect confidentiality and privacy in gaining access to other people’s networks.

If you donʼt have a network you can tap into, think about running a workshop as the basis for establishing a network with other local health workers, who might be interested in health promotion and tobacco control.

Source for Box 1 and Box 2: material adapted from Kruger K, McMillan N, Russ P and Smallwood H (2007);Talkin’ up good air: Australian Indigenous tobacco control resource kit. Melbourne: Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Tobacco Control [1].