Addressing high rates of smoking in remote aboriginal communities: new evidence for GPs
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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.
Methods 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.