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Addressing high rates of smoking in remote Aboriginal communities: New evidence for GPs

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Robertson, Jan; Conigrave, Katherine; Ivers, Rowena; Hindmarsh, Elizabeth and Clough, Alan.
  • Journal Name: Australian Family Physician
  • Journal Number: Vol. 42 No. 7
  • Publisher: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Published Location: Sydney, NSW
  • ISBN: 0300-8495
  • Country: Australia

Objective: To inform smoking interventions by clinicians, particularly doctors, in primary healthcare settings in remote Aboriginal communities, we describe the results of tobacco surveys in remote Northern Territory communities. Method: During 2008-09 in three remote communities in the Northern Territory, 400 people (aged >/=16 years) were asked about their tobacco use. Results: Extremely high rates of smoking persist: 71%, 78% and 82% of those interviewed in the three communities. More than half the smokers were either thinking about or actively trying to quit, despite limited access to appropriate support. Among former smokers, the most common motivator for quitting was 'health concerns'. Of those citing 'health concerns', 22% specifically mentioned receiving advice from a clinician, usually a 'doctor'. Conclusion: General practitioners, and their colleagues in similar primary healthcare settings, are well placed and are strongly encouraged to take every opportunity to make what could be a significant impact on reducing harms related to smoking and environmental smoke.

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