Tackling Indigenous Smoking media release
Media Release – 21 November 2016
ALPA-ARDS Smoke Free Spaces Project
ALPA, ARDS Aboriginal Corporation (ARDS) and James Cook University (JCU) are pleased to announce the start of the Smoke-Free Spaces Project aimed at assisting households in three Northern Territory Indigenous communities to create and extend smoke-free areas. The project is funded through ALPA and a Federal Department of Health grant supporting Tackling Indigenous Smoking Innovation programs. .
In the Smoke Free Spaces Project ALPA, ARDS, and JCU will initially collaborate with three communities to understand how community members see smoking and associated health risks. Two ARDS community engagement teams, each with extensive bilingual skills and experience in ARDS’ Discovery Education methodology, will then work with community leaders and households to develop effective explanations and support the creation and expansion of smoke-free spaces to reduce the prevalence of environmental tobacco smoke.
The project is commencing in late 2016 with consultations in priority communities. The project will run over 18 months until June 2018. Project outcomes will be published in a peer-reviewed journal through JCU.
Adult daily smoking rates across Australia have declined in recent decades to 14.5% (ABS, 4364.0.55.001). However among Indigenous Australians smoking rates are more than double national levels. In some remote communities 50% to 80% of people smoke.
These high rates of smoking contribute to the high levels of morbidity and mortality among Indigenous people. The saturation of the environment with tobacco smoke creates health risks for pregnant women, children and people who choose not to smoke.
ALPA’s operations across 27 top-end remote communities include retail stores, technology services and CDP programs making it Australia’s largest Aboriginal Corporation. Alastair King, ALPA CEO, says,:
“Through our stores we have watched with concern how big jumps in cigarette prices have not driven the expected falls in demand for cigarettes. Instead consumers have cut their spending on groceries and other goods to buy smokes. There is a clear need to develop more effective anti-smoking interventions in remote communities.”
ARDS will manage the project. ARDS is based in Darwin and Nhulunbuy and specialises in spanning the gap between Indigenous languages and cultural perspectives and the mainstream world in areas of health, medicine, science, technology, law and government. JCU has a distinguished academic record of smoking research in remote Aboriginal communities.
For more information contact Matt Wrigley, the Project Manager from ARDS on 0419763101 or [email protected]