The Victorian Aboriginal Quitline is launching a new Pledge today, to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers in Victoria commit to cutting down or kicking the habit over the next four weeks.
Quit Victoria Aboriginal Liaison Officer Rhiannon Briggs, said smoking rates among Aboriginal Victorian's are significantly higher at 40.8%1 compared to the state-wide average of 12.2%.2
"The Pledge is a great way for Aboriginal people who smoke to kick start the New Year and make a commitment to their own health; as well as their family, community and future," Ms Briggs said.
By signing up to the Pledge, smokers will be able to choose from cutting down, fasting for three weeks or quitting altogether.
Ms Briggs said personalised support is available to smokers by calling the Quitline (13 78 48) and speaking to an Aboriginal counsellor.
"Aboriginal counsellors who will yarn with callers about their smoking and help them make a plan that's right for their own quitting journey. The service is free to use and counsellors can call people back if that's preferred.
"We also offer other services, such as Quit Coach and QuitTxt, a SMS service that provides regular, tailored messages, including tips and encouragement to help smokers stay on track throughout their quit journey," she said.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of reduced life expectancy among Aboriginal people, with one in five dying of smoking-related illnesses.
"Reducing smoking amongst Aboriginal people is a key focus for Quit Victoria," she said.
"We want to increase the life expectancy for many in the community, and help close the health gap."
Ms Briggs said prizes will be given away at the end of the first four weeks of the pledge to four smokers who best describes why cutting down or quitting is important to them.
"There's never been a better time to quit, so why not put your health first in 2015 and sign the Pledge today."
To sign the pledge, go to http://quit.org.au/aboriginalquitline
For help to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 78 48
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2012-2013 Data Cubes. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics; 2014.
2 National Drug Strategy Household Survey detailed report 2013, AIHW, p.11