Tackling smoking in remote communities


A new resource has been developed by the Northern Territory Department of Health’s Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Program to help reduce the high levels of smoking in Aboriginal communities.

“We know smoking is the single biggest contributor to chronic disease in Aboriginal populations and Yarning about Smoking is designed to combat this statistic,” said Lauren Buckley, Program Manager for the Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Program.

“We want to promote this new resource because it has been specifically created to target smoking in remote communities. Our existing health workforce sends a lot of referrals to our program for smoking cessation and this resource will support them in that process.

“So many of the resources currently available are aimed only at urban populations and it’s always about ‘don’t smoke and this is why’ – but we need to look at the reasons why people might smoke and what stops them from giving up, and Yarning about Smoking does just that.”

The development of Yarning about Smoking is a collaboration between the Health Department’s Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Program in Primary Health Care and the Menzies School of Health Research. The resource can be used and accessed by people all across the Health Department as well as the NGO sector to provide assessments and intervention with people who are smoking.

“We consulted with more than 60 people and organisations across the Northern Territory when creating our Yarning about resources. This includes all of the Remote AOD Workers and Aboriginal Leadership Group, as well as community members and Aboriginal organisations,” Ms Buckley said.

“We ask about the appropriateness of the resources, what questions we should be asking clients and what things keep people doing things like smoking, and what are the issues that they face. We also incorporate the highly successful ‘AIMhi’ images created by Menzies – ‘what keeps you strong’ and ‘who keeps you strong’.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in the Top End or a community in Central Australia – Yarning about Smoking will be relevant to everyone.”

Yarning about Smoking joins a suite of Yarning about tools, including Yarning about Alcohol and Pregnancy, Yarning about Alcohol, Yarning about Gunja, Yarning about Ice, Yarning about Pregnancy, Yarning about Relapse, Yarning about Wellbeing, the Brief Wellbeing Screener and Yarning about Work.

“This group of resources has been taken up by a number of health organisations around Australia and these preventative tools will be promoted at an international health conference in November, along with the newly created Yarning about Smoking,” Ms Buckley said.

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