|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia|
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority from
and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
|| Home Page | About | Publications | Newsletters | Fact Sheets | For Sale | Campaigns | Pictures | Search ||
|Fact Sheet - Aboriginal Smokers|
NSW QUIT CAMPAIGN FACT SHEET
A MAJOR PROBLEM
Statistics on the prevalence of smoking in the Aboriginal population have been fairly scarce until recently. This is partly due to the fact that it is only in recent years that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has included Aboriginality as a separate category in its surveys. It also reflects a lack of research on the health status of Aborigines generally. However, there have been several recent studies undertaken in Victoria and New South Wales, which indicate that smoking prevalence, in some Aboriginal communities at least, is two to three times greater than in the non-Aboriginal community.
DEFINITION OF "ABORIGINES"
In this fact sheet, "Aborigines" is used to denote anyone of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent who identifies as such and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
The 1989-90 National Health Survey on Smoking found that 49.7% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders were smokers compared with 28.2% of the non-Aboriginal population. Although the younger age structure of the Aboriginal population accounted for some of the difference (there are fewer Aborigines aged over 60 than non-Aborigines due to higher mortality rates), the proportion of Aborigines who smoked was higher in all age groups, except in the age group 65 years and over. Compared with the non-Aboriginal population, where 23.2% of smokers had quit smoking, on 18.1% of Aborigines had quit. Similarly, only 32.2% of Aborigines had never smoked compared with 48.5% of non-Aborigines.
There have been a number of smaller studies which indicate the prevalence of smoking in the Aboriginal population is much higher than indicated by the ABS statistics.
South Eastern Australia
One of the most recent studies was carried out in rural Victoria which compared Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people living in two separate towns. They found that:
Orana and Far Western NSW
Similar results were obtained from a study of smoking in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal inhabitants of Wilcannia in 1989:
Aboriginal Medical Services
In these studies, cigarettes were the favoured form of tobacco consumption.
Much lower quit rates were found in the Aboriginal population, reflecting the higher current smoking rates:
There are conflicting reports on the influence of employment on smoking habits:
In the South Eastern Australia study, when analysis was restricted to males who did not receive a pension/benefit (i.e. who were employed), the difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal smoking prevalence was far smaller for males (39% and 24% respectively). For women, there was no difference in rates between the two groups.
In the Orana and Far West study, no significant difference in smoking prevalence was found between those who were employed and those who were unemployed.
Aboriginal people in these studies were well aware of the importance of tobacco smoking as one of the important causes of ill-health in their community:
In the South Eastern Australia study, 62% of males and 52% of females saw alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as a major problem in their community;
In the Wilcannia study, approximately 50% of Aboriginal smokers indicated a desire to quit smoking.
Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are two of the biggest killers in the Aboriginal community. Smoking is a major preventable risk factor for both. The prevalence of these diseases in the Aboriginal population is known to be well above that in the non-Aboriginal community:
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.|
|This page was last updated on 21st April, 2006, previously 18/8/04 and 20/2/1999. Many thanks to a supporter who supplied this web page from his giant database of quotations.|
|Home Page | Publications | Newsletters | Fact Sheets | Top of Page | Smoking Jokes|